Health IT for patient safety and improving the safety of health IT

Farah Magrabi*, Mei Sing Ong, Enrico Coiera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


Alongside their benefits health IT applications can pose new risks to patient safety. Problems with IT have been linked to many different types of clinical errors including prescribing and administration of medications; as well as wrong-patient, wrong-site errors, and delays in procedures. There is also growing concern about the risks of data breach and cyber-security. IT-related clinical errors have their origins in processes undertaken to design, build, implement and use software systems in a broader sociotechnical context. Safety can be improved with greater standardization of clinical software and by improving the quality of processes at different points in the technology life cycle, spanning design, build, implementation and use in clinical settings. Oversight processes can be set up at a regional or national level to ensure that clinical software systems meet specific standards. Certification and regulation are two mechanisms to improve oversight. In the absence of clear standards, guidelines are useful to promote safe design and implementation practices. Processes to identify and mitigate hazards can be formalised via a safety management system. Minimizing new patient safety risks is critical to realizing the benefits of IT.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvidence-Based Health Informatics: Promoting Safety and Efficiency through Scientific Methods and Ethical Policy
EditorsElske Ammenwerth, Michael Rigby
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781614996354
ISBN (Print)9781614996347
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2016

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
PublisherIOS Press
ISSN (Print)0926-9630

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. 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.


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