(LHP Graphic/Allison Bell)

Sometimes, the accuracy and completeness of the information in a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) could turn out to be as important to the patient’s safety as the skill of a surgeon, or the cleanliness of an assistant’s hands.

The HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association (HIMSS EHR), Chicago, says it will be working with iHealth Alliance, Montvale, N.J., and PDR Network L.L.C., Montvale, to create incident reporting tools aimed at users of EHR systems and related health information technology (IT) systems.

HIMSS EHR is an affiliate of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a health IT group.

iHealth Alliance is the nonprofit organization in charge of overseeing the PDR Secure EHRevent.org EHR incident reporting system.

PDR Network, the company that runs PDR Secure and the EHRevent system, is better known as the publisher of the Physicians’ Desk Reference, a popular guide to prescription drugs.

“IHealth Alliance board members include senior executives from U.S. medical societies, professional liability carriers, patient safety groups and liaison representatives from the [federal Food and Drug Administration],” according to iHealth Alliance.

None of the board members appear to be a trial lawyer or a member of a general-interest consumer group or patient activist group.

The EHRevent system is operated as a federally sanctioned patient safety organization. That status gives the providers who use the system to report incidents safe harbor protections, system managers say.

Dr. Sarah Corley, a medical doctor who is chair of the HIMSS EHR patient safety workgroup, says the association wants to be part of any initiatives focused on collecting and analyzing issues that might compromise patient safety objectives.

HIMSS EHR and iHealth Alliance have agreed to work to support the EHRevent.org system and promote efforts to ensure that the information collected is relevant and timely.

HMSS EHR and its members “bring expertise about these systems that is simply not found elsewhere,” says Dr. Nancy Dickey, the chair of the iHealth Alliance.