The dangerous decade

Enrico Coiera*, Jos Aarts, Casimir Kulikowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the next 10 years, more information and communication technology (ICT) will be deployed in the health system than in its entire previous history. Systems will be larger in scope, more complex, and move from regional to national and supranational scale. Yet we are at roughly the same place the aviation industry was in the 1950s with respect to system safety. Even if ICT harm rates do not increase, increased ICT use will increase the absolute number of ICT related harms. Factors that could diminish ICT harm include adoption of common standards, technology maturity, better system development, testing, implementation and end user training. Factors that will increase harm rates include complexity and heterogeneity of systems and their interfaces, rapid implementation and poor training of users. Mitigating these harms will not be easy, as organizational inertia is likely to generate a hysteresis-like lag, where the paths to increase and decrease harm are not identical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-5
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

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