A new set of guides and interactive tools designed to help health care providers use electronic health records (EHRs) more safely has been released by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The SAFER Guides are a suite of tools that include checklists and recommended practices to help health care providers assess and optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs.
The SAFER guides consist of nine guides organized into three broad groups. These guides enable healthcare organizations to address EHR safety in a variety of areas. Most organizations will want to start with the Foundational Guides, and proceed from there to address their areas of greatest interest or concern. The guides identify recommended practices to optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs. The content of the guides can be explored here, at the links below, or interactive PDF versions of the guides can be downloaded and completed locally for self-assessment of an organization’s degree of conformance to the Recommended Practices. The downloaded guides can be filled out, saved, and transmitted between team members.
The SAFER Guides complement AHRQ’s existing safety tools and research. AHRQ’s Patient Safety Organizations have identified health IT as a high priority given the impact EHRs are having on patient safety right now. AHRQ has a wide variety of health IT tools and resources to help implement and use Health IT safely including the Health IT Hazard Manager, the Workflow Assessment for Health IT Toolkit, Implementation Tools for E-Prescribing, Consumer Health IT Design Guide, and the Guide to Reducing Unintended Consequences of EHRs.