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Fortify HIT contracts with education and ethics to protect patient safety, say informatics experts
Date:11/11/2010

patients, who these systems ultimately serve. We think these recommendations do an excellent job of addressing fairness and balancing accountability in the HIT marketplace and in the health sector."

The report, titled "HIT Vendors, their customers and patients: New challenges in ethics, safety, best practices and oversight," makes specific recommendations on Contract Language, Education and Ethics, Ethical Standards, User Groups, Best Practices, and Marketing. An additional section addresses Regulation and Oversight of the HIT Industry and next steps.

The report's first author is Kenneth W. Goodman, PhD, FACMI, director of the University of Miami Bioethics Program. Dr. Goodman chaired the Task Force responsible for the report, a group of AMIA members comprising nationwide representatives of academia, industry, and leading healthcare institutions.

"AMIA provided an important forum in which complex and sometimes conflicting positions were candidly discussed, analyzed and balanced," said Dr. Goodman. "HIT systems are ubiquitous these days and need better oversight. These recommendations demonstrate a high-value commitment to patient safety, quality care, and innovationhealthcare goals sometimes difficult to reconcile. These recommendations," he added, "can help individual institutions do more to support successful HIT implementation."

Among the recommendations is contract language specified to protect patient safety and to spell out the shared responsibility that vendors and their customers have for successful implementation. "Hold harmless" clauses in contracts between vendors and purchasers or clinical users, that absolve vendors for errors or defects in their software, are declared unethical by AMIA.

The AMIA position states that "safe and successful HIT systems further require ethics education, which has become a standard part of professional development in the corporate world." HIT vendors and their clients are urged to adopt enterpri
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Contact: Nancy Light
nlight@amia.org
301-657-5903
American Medical Informatics Association
Source:Eurekalert

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