AMIA Issues New Recommendations for Health IT Vendors, Customers

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) has adopted recommendations for new practices targeting the reduction or elimination of tensions that mar relationships between health IT vendors and their customers, specifically with regard to indemnity and error management of health IT systems.

The recommendations, which resulted from deliberations by an AMIA board-appointed task force, seek to imbue the health IT vendor-customer relationship with transparency, veracity and accountability through collaborative education focused on the installation, configuration and use of health IT systems in combination with enterprise-wide ethics education to support patient safety, according to the Bethesda, Md.-based AMIA.

Among the recommendations is contract language specified to protect patient safety and make clear the shared responsibility that vendors and their customers have for successful implementation. “Hold harmless” clauses in contracts between vendors and purchasers or clinical users that absolve vendors for errors or defects in their software are declared unethical by AMIA.

AMIA stated that “safe and successful health IT systems further require ethics education, which has become a standard part of professional development in the corporate world.” Health IT vendors and their clients are urged to adopt enterprise-wide ethics education to parallel what accrediting healthcare organizations require.

Standards for corporate conduct and subsequent education about such standards are also recommended by AMIA. According to the association, various informational tools–many aimed for post-market use–are among best practices to assist institutions and clinical practices in achieving optimal HIT implementation.

The position statement will appear in the January/February 2011 print edition of Journal of the American Medial Informatics Association.

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