New EHR error-reporting system to keep data confidential, a service that will allow health workers to report and track errors associated with electronic health records, has launched with broad support and no small amount of fanfare. In cooperation with the federal government, the new system will be run by the iHealth Alliance and the PDR network. The iHealth Alliance already runs the Health Care Notification Network, while the PDR Network, perhaps best known for their Physicians Desk Reference, already distributes FDA warnings and drug labeling information.

It shows promise, of course, but that promise comes with one hefty caveat for health journalists: The resulting data will be kept under wraps. Wall Street Journal health blogger Katherine Hobson has the details:

The aggregated data will be available to medical societies, liability carriers and agencies such as the FDA, but will remain confidential — and won’t be subject to legal discovery. (The mechanism for this type of information sharing is the patient safety organization, federally sanctioned groups formed by providers, nonprofit groups and other interested parties to analyze data about medical errors. Groups can get aggregated data if they agree to keep it out of the public domain.)

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