Patient safety organizations, commonly referred to as PSOs, are about to take off. And when they do, PSOs should provide hospitalists with invaluable data on improving patient safety.
“PSOs are a great concept, but even though it’s been around since 2005, I haven’t seen it clinically,” says Janet Nagamine, RN, MD, hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, Calif., and chair of SHM’s Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee.
This calendar year, Nagamine and the rest of hospital medicine should start to see some movement—“PSO 1.0,” if you will.
PSOs are public and private organizations approved by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); they include such groups as Health Watch Inc., Human Performance Technology Group, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which will collect, aggregate, and analyze data on patient safety events. Hospitals and other healthcare providers will voluntarily and confidentially report data. The ultimate goal is to advance changes in culture, processes, and systems to enhance patient safety.
PSOs grew out of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, which was a response to the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System.” But it wasn’t until last year that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule outlining PSO requirements and procedures. The rule became effective Jan. 19, 2009.
AHRQ is responsible for coordinating the development of a set of common definitions and reporting formats, called common formats, for collecting the data. Eventually, AHRQ will create a network of patient safety databases to which PSOs, providers, and others can voluntarily contribute non-identifiable patient safety information. This network will serve as an interactive evidence-based management resource for providers, PSOs, and other entities. AHRQ will use data from the network to analyze national and regional statistics regarding patient safety events. Findings will be made public and will be included in AHRQ’s annual National Healthcare Quality Report.