Safe health IT use dependent on 8 socio-technical factors

While health IT can offer providers a number of benefits, the technology also presents a safety risk in the hospital. The Joint Commission released a new Sentinel Event Alert discussing safe use of health IT.

The Joint Commission analyzed 3,375 sentinel events between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2013 that resulted in either permanent patient harm or death. Of those sentinel events, 120 resulted from health IT-related contributing factors, which the Joint Commission identifies as socio-technical dimensions.

Here are the eight socio-technical factors. The percentage indicates how many of the 120 health IT-related sentinel events in the review pertained to each factor.

Human-computer interface: 33 percent

Workflow and communication: 24 percent

Clinical content: 23 percent

Internal organizational policies, procedures and culture: 6 percent

People: 6 percent

Hardware and software computing infrastructure: 6 percent

External rules, regulations and pressures: 1 percent

System measurement and monitoring: 1 percent

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