Quality and Safety in eHealth: The Need to Build the Evidence Base

J Med Internet Res. 2019 Dec 19;21(12):e16689. doi: 10.2196/16689.


Research in the area of health technology safety has demonstrated that technology may both improve patient safety and introduce new types of technology-induced errors. Thus, there is a need to publish safety science literature to develop an evidence-based research base, on which we can continually develop new, safe technologies and improve patient safety. The aim of this viewpoint is to argue for the need to advance evidence-based research in health informatics, so that new technologies can be designed, developed, and implemented for their safety prior to their use in health care. This viewpoint offers a historical perspective on the development of health informatics and safety literature in the area of health technology. I argue for the need to conduct safety studies of technologies used by health professionals and consumers to develop an evidence base in this area. Ongoing research is necessary to improve the quality and safety of health technologies. Over the past several decades, we have seen health informatics emerge as a discipline, with growing research in the field examining the design, development, and implementation of different health technologies and new challenges such as those associated with the quality and safety of technology use. Future research will need to focus on how we can continually extend safety science in this area. There is a need to integrate evidence-based research into the design, development, and implementation of health technologies to improve their safety and reduce technology-induced errors.

Keywords: health technology; patient safety; technology-induced error.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety*
  • Telemedicine / standards*