Organizational leadership’s commitment to ensuring the safe use of health information technology is one of several actions proposed in a Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert recently released to reduce patient harm caused by HIT-related events. After analyzing 3,375 sentinel events that occurred between Jan. 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013, that resulted in permanent patient harm or death, the Joint Commission identified 120 of those events as having HIT-related contributing factors, such as the usability of hardware and software interfaces that allow users to interact with HIT devices. Leadership can help to ensure the safe use of HIT by overseeing planning, implementation and evaluation. Another action the alert suggests is involving IT staff members and vendors in a comprehensive system analysis of adverse events that result in patient harm.

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