SAFER Guides for EHR Self Assessment Now Available

Earlier this year, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released nine Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) guides to assist healthcare organizations and providers with assessing and optimizing their use of electronic health records (EHRs). In creating these guides, the ONC used the most current evidence available and field- tested it at a range of healthcare organizations, from small ambulatory practices to large health systems.

These interactive guides contain tools, including checklists and recommended practices, to assist healthcare organizations and providers in conducting self assessments and optimizing their use of EHRs to improve patient safety. After filling out the checklist, a practice worksheet gives a rationale for the recommended practice and some ideas on how to implement it. The worksheet also includes fields to take notes, record team members and write follow-up action. These guides are intended to be useful for all EHR users; however, depending on the circumstances of your organization, some of the recommendations may not be applicable.

The areas that the guides cover are:

  • High Priority Practices 
  • Organizational Responsibilities 
  • Contingency Planning 
  • System Configuration 
  • System Interfaces 
  • Patient Identification 
  • Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) with Decision Support Test Results Reporting and Follow-Up 
  • Clinician Communication

Please note that these guides are informational in nature and are not intended to be used for legal compliance purposes. Also, implementing a SAFER Guide recommended practice does not guarantee compliance with Meaningful Use, HIPAA, or other laws. Should you have questions about compliance with these regulations or other laws, please consult your business attorney.

You can download the SAFER Guide from ONC’s website at

Information current as of 3/17/14 Source: (accessed 3/17/14).

The information contained in this document is intended as risk management advice. It does not constitute a legal opinion, nor is it a substitute for legal advice. Legal inquires about topics covered in this document should be directed to an attorney.

Recommendations contained in this document are not intended to determine the standard of care, but are provided as risk management advice. Recommendations presented should not be considered inclusive of all appropriate risk management strategies or exclusive of other strategies reasonably directed to obtain the same results. The ultimate judgement regarding the propriety of any specific procedure must be made by the physician/healthcare provider in light of the individual circumstances presented by the patient.

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