Current challenges in health information technology–related patient safety

Dean F. Sittig*, Adam Wright, Enrico Coiera, Farah Magrabi, Raj Ratwani, David W. Bates, Hardeep Singh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


We identify and describe nine key, short-term, challenges to help healthcare organizations, health information technology developers, researchers, policymakers, and funders focus their efforts on health information technology–related patient safety. Categorized according to the stage of the health information technology lifecycle where they appear, these challenges relate to (1) developing models, methods, and tools to enable risk assessment; (2) developing standard user interface design features and functions; (3) ensuring the safety of software in an interfaced, network-enabled clinical environment; (4) implementing a method for unambiguous patient identification (1–4 Design and Development stage); (5) developing and implementing decision support which improves safety; (6) identifying practices to safely manage information technology system transitions (5 and 6 Implementation and Use stage); (7) developing real-time methods to enable automated surveillance and monitoring of system performance and safety; (8) establishing the cultural and legal framework/safe harbor to allow sharing information about hazards and adverse events; and (9) developing models and methods for consumers/patients to improve health information technology safety (7–9 Monitoring, Evaluation, and Optimization stage). These challenges represent key “to-do’s” that must be completed before we can expect to have safe, reliable, and efficient health information technology–based systems required to care for patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Informatics Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • electronic health records
  • healthcare policy
  • information and knowledge management
  • information technology design and development methodologies
  • organizational change and information technology


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