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Field Study of the System-to-System Interfaces and Patient Identification ONC SAFER Assessment Guides

Author: Rodney E. Howell, BSCET

Primary Advisor: Dean F. Sittig, PhD

Committee Members: Amy Franklin, PhD, Susan Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA

Masters thesis, The University of Texas Health Science Center School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.


Objective: The objective of this research is to assess two (i.e., System-to-system Interface and Patient Identification) of the nine Safety Assurance Factors for Electronic Health Record Resilience (SAFER) self-assessment guides.

Methods: Seven key informants from five hospitals in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas were interviewed while completing the Patient Identification and/or the System Interface SAFER assessment guides.

Results: The findings support full acknowledgment for the usefulness of the guides and validate their place as an effective tool for data surveillance for patient safety and quality of care. Additional education and resources are needed in order to bring enough attention to the seriousness of the problems involving data integrity and the potential threat that the lack thereof presents.

Conclusion: A majority of responses indicated that the guides were complete, useful and would improve patient safety at their facility. However, a majority of responses also indicated that they were not planning on following some or all of the guidelines. The responses were attributed to the validity of the guide’s effectiveness to reveal real issues with interface and patient ID processes but also uncovered acknowledgement of a lack of resources and the belief that processes were already in place to manage the potential threat.

Key Words: EHR, Safety, Data Surveillance, Patient Identification