Healthcare IT Can Reduce Diagnostic Errors by Facilitating Action on Test Results

The ECRI Institute’s Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety recently convened a working group to identify how technology can facilitate timely action regarding test results and prevent missed or delayed diagnoses.

The workgroup’s report is called “Health IT Safe Practices for Closing the Loop: Mitigating Delayed, Missed and Incorrect Diagnoses Related to Diagnostic Testing and Medication Changes Using Health IT,” and you can access it in full here. It includes recommendations for standardizing the format of test results and optimizing the notification process in electronic health records to reduce alert fatigue. ECRI has found that this proper flow of information can “help ensure that patient data requiring action is delivered to the right people at the right time in the right format.”

In an article about the report, HealthLeaders summarized several recommendations, which are “designed to facilitate the efficient flow of information, with all diagnostic results and medications communicated to providers, pharmacists and patients on a timely basis.” MLMIC encourages hospitals and physicians to explore how health IT can promote efficient review of test results, communication among providers and a reduction in diagnostic errors that result from missed or delayed findings.