What are the SAFER guides?



The SAFER Guides are a set of checklist-based self-assessment tools designed to improve safety on how Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are used. According to HealthIT.gov, “the guides identify recommended practices to optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs.” They were built to give organizations an opportunity to ensure they were properly protecting patient health information while using their EHR system. The Guides consist of nine guides organized into three broad groups: Foundational Guides, Infrastructure Guides, and Clinical Process Guides.

The Groups

Within these three groups, there are nine specific guides:

  1. Foundational Guides: The starting point for most healthcare practices

    1. High Priority Practices: Broadly addresses the EHR safety concerns discussed in the other eight guides and is used to help identify which guides need to be addressed next.

    2. Organizational Responsibilities: Identifies the individual and organizational responsibilities intended to optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs.  

  2. Infrastructure Guides

    1. Contingency Planning: Identifies recommended safety practices and procedures associated with planned or unplanned EHR unavailability.

    2. System Configuration: Identifies the recommended safety practices associated with the way EHR hardware and software are configured.

    3. System Interfaces: Identifies the safety practices intended to optimize the safety and safe use of system-to-system interfaces between EHR-related software applications.

  3. Clinical Process Guides

    1. Patient Identification: Identifies the recommended safety practices associated with the accurate and reliable identification of patients in the EHR, including the training of staff.

    2. Computerized Provider Order Entry with Decision Support: Identifies the recommended safety practices associated with computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and clinical decision support (CDS).

    3. Test Results Reporting and Follow-Up: Identifies the recommended safety practices in regards to electronic communication and the management of diagnostic test results including reporting and follow-up.

    4. Clinician Communication: Identifies the recommended safety practices associated with communication between clinicians to limit communication breakdowns that can cause medical errors and patient harm.

Why Should I Care?

These Safer Guides represent an essential step in ensuring healthcare organizations are meeting the proper Privacy and Security measures to ensure their organization is protecting information and remaining compliant. Healthcare practices must already meet a number of compliancy measures, including completing a Security Risk Analysis, to they want to properly position themselves against risk and successfully complete their MIPS requirements. Additionally, starting this year, MIPS eligible clinicians must attest yes/no to completing the SAFER Guides for the Promoting Interoperability measure for MACRA/MIPS. Because of this, it is more important than ever that healthcare companies utilize these Guides to ensure they are both protecting their patients and keeping security top of mind. Medcurity has built a SAFER Guides tool so that organizations are able to take the necessary steps easily and efficiently.

Our New SAFER Self-Assessment Tool

Medcurity has developed an intuitive module, built on our powerful security risk analysis platform. Generate an audit-ready report and track any action items for free on Medcurity for up to one year. You can find this free tool on our website, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any questions.