HHS Launches New Patient Safety Workgroup

Posted on by Frank J. Rosello

Members of a new workgroup focused on ways to improve patient safety and promote innovation in health IT, including mobile medical applications, have been selected by the Department of Health and Human Services and Federal Communications Commission. The workgroup will report to the Health IT Policy Committee which advises the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The workgroup will hold its first meeting April 29.

The workgroup’s membership includes agency officials and experts representing patients, consumers, healthcare providers, startup companies and health plans or other third-party payers. The workgroup also includes venture capital investors, information technology vendors, health information technology vendors, small businesses, purchasers, employers, and other stakeholders.

“Patients already benefit from innovative information technology tools such as electronic health records that allow their providers to improve coordination and delivery of care,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release. “This workgroup will help the Health IT Policy Committee consider new ways to navigate this rapidly growing industry while promoting innovation and protecting patient safety.”

“New technologies can revolutionize healthcare, helping to improve patient outcomes, while expanding access, creating convenience and lowering health care costs for millions of Americans,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, in a statement, “We anticipate that this talented group of leaders from their respective fields of discipline will help to bring fresh ideas to the table with an eye towards ensuring patient safety.”

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act directed the HHS Secretary, acting through the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and in consultation with ONC and the chairman of the FCC, to develop a report that contains a proposed strategy and recommendations on an appropriate, risk-based regulatory framework for health IT, including medical mobile applications, that promotes innovation, protects patient safety, and avoids regulatory duplication. The FDA, FCC, and the ONC will review and consider the recommendations provided by the Health IT Policy Committee, based on input from the workgroup, as the three agencies write the report.

The workgroup meetings will provide opportunities for the public to comment. Documents discussed by the workgroup will be available on the ONC website.

Article written by Bernie Monegain, Editor for Healthcare IT News

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