HHS Issues Interim Guidance for Becoming a Patient Safety Organization

The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (Patient Safety Act) authorized the creation of PSOs to improve safety through the collection and analysis of data on patient safety events. By providing both privilege and confidentiality, PSOs will create a secure environment where clinicians and health care organizations can voluntarily collect, aggregate and analyze data that enable the identification and reduction of the risks and hazards associated with patient care.

According to the news release , the interim guidance allows HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to begin receiving applications from qualified entities that wish to become PSOs. This guidance will remain effective until HHS issues a final rule for PSOs, which will then supersede the interim guidance. A final rule is expected to be released by the end of 2008.

To facilitate the collection and reporting of patient safety information, AHRQ released Common Formats on August 29. The Common Formats, now available for download through AHRQ's PSO Web site, provide common definitions and reporting formats that health care professionals can use to collect and track patient safety information. These formats may be used by providers and PSOs to report a range of patient safety concerns, capturing both structured and narrative information.

The interim guidance and common formats can be found at www.pso.ahrq.gov .

(SOURCES: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com , October 9, 2008; AHRQ website, http://ahrq.gov , accessed October 14, 2008 )