Warning guidelines issued on safe use of copy and paste


The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, a multi-stakeholder collaborative convened by ECRI Institute, has released safe practice recommendations for the use of copy and paste. This is the Partnership's first release in a series of evidence-based recommendations designed to improve health IT safety.

The Partnership, established in 2013, includes healthcare providers, health information technology (IT) developers, academic researchers, patient safety organizations, liability insurers, and professional societies. The widespread and often underreported practice of copy and paste was chosen for its first set of recommended practices.

The copy and paste workgroup, chaired by National Patient Safety Foundation President and CEO Dr Tejal Gandhi, was comprised of 40 leaders from participating organizations.

"We defined copy and paste, looked at uses, looked at the literature, reviewed events that had come into ECRI Institute's Patient Safety Organization, talked about vendor functionalities and explored best practices from a couple of organizations and how they're working on copy and paste, and then, at the end, got to some recommendations," said Gandhi.

Following extensive review and discussion of the information, the group identified the following Safe Practice Recommendations for the use of copy and paste. They encourage stakeholders to provide a mechanism to make copy and paste material easily identifiable; ensure that the provenance of copy and paste material is readily available; ensure adequate staff training and education regarding the appropriate and safe use of copy and paste; and ensure that copy and paste practices are regularly monitored, measured, and assessed.

In the just-released and publicly-available toolkit, Health IT Safe Practices: Toolkit for the Safe Use of Copy and Paste, the Partnership presents the four safe practice recommendations, along with actionable resources to facilitate the implementation of these recommended safe practices.

"I hope the toolkit will stimulate discussions about safe practices, so that all of the stakeholders, including frontline staff, are aware of what the current copy and paste practices are, what the rationale is when using copy and paste, and then how to best maintain the accuracy and reliability of the record when reusing information," said ECRI Institute's Lorraine Possanza, senior patient safety, risk, and quality analyst.

The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, ECRI Institute, Copy and paste, IT safety, Dr Tejal Gandhi, Lorraine Possanza, US