AMIA Seeks Support for National Health IT Safety Strategy; Calls for Passage of ‘Cures,’ ‘Innovations’ Legislation

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Health Informatics Professionals Head to Washington, D.C. for Annual Hill Day

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) took to Capitol Hill today to meet with House and Senate leaders, urging passage of legislation meant to bring cures from the bench to the bedside faster and fund efforts such as the Precision Medicine and Cancer Moonshot Initiatives. The nation’s biomedical and health informatics professionals also sought support for a national health IT safety strategy, including a public/private partnership meant to provide a trusted space where stakeholders can convene to review evidence and jointly develop solutions to critical health IT safety issues.

Officials from AMIA’s Board of Directors, Public Policy Committee and Industry Advisory Council spoke to House and Senate leaders pointing out that over the last several months, leadership in the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee have passed bipartisan legislation to advance medical innovation in the U.S. AMIA urged Congress to move forward with compromise legislation this year, which includes vital funding for efforts such as the Precision Medicine and Cancer Moonshot Initiatives.

“It is critical that Congress act now to support both the public and private sector in delivering cures from the bench to the bedside more quickly,” said AMIA Board Chair and Medical Director of IT Services at the University of Washington’s UW Medicine, Thomas H. Payne, MD, PhD, FACMI. “Legislation being considered by the House and the Senate would give a ‘shot in the arm’ to our national research enterprise and it would allow discoveries to be integrated into care delivery more efficiently to benefit patients everywhere.”

AMIA officials underscored how various provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act and the Senate’s Medical Innovations package would benefit patients and bolster the nation’s standing worldwide in biomedical advances. Specifically, AMIA noted how various provisions are meant to modernize clinical trials and enable more research, given the digitization of healthcare delivery and the adoption of informatics tools, such as electronic health records.

Additionally, AMIA spoke to congressional officials to the importance of understanding ways to leverage health IT for patient safety.

“The introduction of health IT applications to healthcare delivery has unambiguously improved patient safety and saved lives,” AMIA’s Health IT Safety brief notes. “However, health IT has also introduced new, novel and complex threats to patient safety, resulting in extensive harm. AMIA urges Congress to support the development of a national-level strategy for health IT safety. Such a strategy must include a centralized public-private partnership meant to provide a trusted space where stakeholders can convene to review evidence and jointly develop solutions to critical health IT safety issues.”

AMIA pointed officials to a report published last year, which sought to better understand how health IT contributes to or detracts from patient safety, suggesting the need for a “trusted space where stakeholders could convene to review evidence and jointly develop solutions to critical health IT safety issues.” The report recommended a multi-pronged focus for a national center on health IT patient safety, including a need to:

  • Collaborate on solutions to address health IT-related safety events and hazards;
  • Improve the identification and sharing of information on health IT-related safety events and hazards;
  • Report on evidence on health IT safety and solutions; and
  • Promote health IT safety education and competency of clinicians in the appropriate and safe use of health IT.

“Now is the time to get serious about health IT patient safety,” said AMIA President and CEO Douglas B. Fridsma, MD, PhD, FACMI. “Now is the time to fully fund a collaborative, national center for health IT safety.”

AMIA, the leading professional association for informatics professionals, is the center of action for 5,000 informatics professionals from more than 65 countries. As the voice of the nation’s top biomedical and health informatics professionals, AMIA and its members play a leading role in assessing the effect of health innovations on health policy, and advancing the field of informatics. AMIA actively supports five domains in informatics: translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics.

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Lisa Gibson
American Medical Informatics Association
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Krista Martin
American Medical Informatics Association
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