Texas Medical Association Slams ONC Safety Plan

Dan Bowman | FierceHealthIT | February 12, 2013

The health IT safety action plan proposed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in December is not specific enough to succeed, according to recent comments made by the Texas Medical Association. In its letter to National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, TMA said that responsibility for the plan "lacks focus," and should be overseen by a "highly visible HIT Safety Czar."

TMA also called setting mandatory deadlines and developing a "robust" reporting and learning system imperative to the success of the plan, saying that the plan's current reliance on voluntary reporting and funding represents a "fundamental weakness." "TMA believes that significant patient safety risks exist now, and new ones will emerge in the next one to two years as many [electronic health record] and other HIT vendors merge or go out of business," the letter said.

Additionally, the group expressed doubts about a code of conduct proposed to keep vendors in line as far as ensuring cooperation with safety organizations for adverse event reporting. "TMA is concerned that this will not materially affect industry accountability and generate the changes that are needed," the letter said. "For example, what if a developer does not comply with said code of conduct? There is no penalty or impetus for change."...