A call for national e-health clinical safety governance

Enrico W Coiera, Michael R Kidd and Mukesh C Haikerwal
Med J Aust 2012; 196 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10475
Published online: 16 April 2012

The benefits of technology should not be overshadowed by avoidable patient harm

Well designed and implemented information technology (IT) can lead to safer and more effective clinical care.1 This rationale has triggered a rapid and unprecedented expansion in e-health investment globally, most recently in national-scale systems. However, e-health can sometimes lead to patient harm or death through problems in design or operation.2 Chances of harm increase with known risk factors such as poorly designed software or its implementation, including rapid deployment, and poor training and support.3 We have previously argued for regulation of clinical software to mitigate these hazards; a case echoed internationally.4-6

  • 1 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Flinders University, Adelaide, SA.



The following have provided constructive feedback and support this editorial: Farah Magrabi, Johanna Westbrook, Ric Day, Siaw-Teng Liaw, Peter Hibbert and Jeffrey Braithwaite at the University of New South Wales; Christopher Pearce at the Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local; William Runciman at the University of South Australia; and Jenny Bartlett at the National E-health Transition Authority. This work is supported in part by funding from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Program Grant 568612 and the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in E-health.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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