Perceptions of errors associated with healthcare information technology (HIT) often depend on the context and position of the viewer. HIT vendors posit very different causes of errors than clinicians, implementation teams, or IT staff. Even within the same hospital, members of departments and services often implicate other departments. Organizations may attribute errors to external care partners that refer patients, such as nursing homes or outside clinics. Also, the various clinical roles within an organization (e.g., physicians, nurses, pharmacists) can conceptualize errors and their root causes differently. Overarching all these perceptual factors, the definitions, mechanisms, and incidence of HIT-related errors are remarkably conflictual. There is neither a universal standard for defining or counting these errors. This paper attempts to enumerate and clarify the issues related to differential perceptions of medical errors associated with HIT. It then suggests solutions.
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