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Libby Mitchell

Phone: 801-587-0945

Jan 19, 2018 10:14 AM

 The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded a $2.45 million grant to the University of Utah to develop, pilot, and disseminate a tool to evaluate operational Electronic Health Records Systems (EHRs) in ambulatory clinics. The Ambulatory Patient Safety EHR Flight Simulator Tool will enable ambulatory clinics to improve medication safety for their patients.

Adverse drug events are the leading cause of ambulatory safety problems, and these events are frequently preventable—many are related to prescribing errors. The frequency and severity of medication safety problems has been a driving force for the adoption of EHRs in both inpatient and ambulatory settings of care. More than 95 percent of hospitals have implemented EHRs.

The funded project is modeled after an ongoing safety initiative that the University of Utah and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have been working on since 2002, in partnership with the Leapfrog Group. This produced an inpatient EHR Flight Simulator Tool which is currently used by 2000 hospitals. It allows organizations to test the performance of EHR systems on a frequent basis and to use this information to improve critical medication safety aspects of their EHR systems through continuous quality improvement. Investigators expect to see a significant reduction in adverse drug events with the use of the ambulatory EHR simulator funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The project is being led by the University of Utah’s Division of Epidemiology, an academic home within the Department of Internal Medicine for 24 full-time and 12 adjunct faculty members with methodological expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics, medical informatics, health services research, and community-based participatory research. Clinical and population areas of research focus include cancer, infectious disease, infection control, nutrition, patient safety, and genetics. David Classen, MD, MS, is the principal investigator for the project and has been the principal investigator for four earlier projects on the development of the EHR flight simulator and a current Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded EHR flight simulator project. 

Other institutional partners involved in the project include the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the CHPSO Patient Safety Organization.

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