Common Formats—Scope and Reporting

What are Common Formats?

Common Formats is the generic term for the standardized reporting formats, using common language and definitions that AHRQ is developing for reporting safety concerns from a variety of health care settings and throughout the quality improvement cycle. Common Formats will allow aggregation of comparable data at local, PSO, regional, and national levels. For more information, see the PSO Privacy Protection Center (PSOPPC). Common Formats are discussed in the Patient Safety Act at 42 USC 299b-23(b).

The PSO Privacy Protection Center (PSOPPC)

AHRQ established a PSOPPC to provide support and assistance to PSOs for the contextual non-identification of patient safety event data that is patient safety work product (PSWP), so that it can meet the confidentiality requirements for submission and information at the Network of Patient Safety Databases (NPSD). AHRQ awards a contract for the operation of the PSOPPC and NPSD systems.

To access the most current versions of the Common Formats, go to the PSOPPC Web site. There, you will find the full list of event-specific formats for hospital and community pharmacy settings.

Common Formats Open for Reporting

Currently, the following versions of the Common Formats are open for providers and PSOs to use to report data to the PSOPPC:

Common Formats for Event Reporting—Hospital

  • Common Formats – Hospital Version 2.0
  • Common Formats – Hospital Version 1.2

These formats are designed to support the first stage in the improvement cycle—reporting. They consist of two general types of formats:

  • Generic Common Formats specify information that is to be collected for all patient safety concerns—incidents, near misses, and unsafe conditions. They have been developed to:
    • Standardize "generic" information (e.g., reporter, location), no matter what kind of event/unsafe condition is being reported
    • Allow change to generic information that may be specified in subsequent versions of the Common Formats to be made easily and consistently
    • Allow standardized collection of basic information for event types, including those outside the scope of the nine categories for which AHRQ has developed event-specific Common Formats
  • Event-specific Common Formats pertain to frequently occurring and/or serious types of patient safety events, nine of which have been developed. They are used to provide specific, objective detail in addition to, not in place of, generic Common Formats.

Common Formats for Community Pharmacy

  • Common Formats for Community Pharmacy Version 1.0

These formats are designed to gain enhanced understanding about the circumstances surrounding patient safety events in the Community Pharmacy setting.

Common Formats Open for Comment

Once AHRQ develops a Common Format, it is left open for comment on the National Quality Forum (NQF) Web site. Comments collected and reviewed by the NQF Expert Panel are used to inform decisions about updates to future versions of the AHRQ Common Formats. The current versions available for comment at NQF are:

To learn more about each version of the Common Formats listed above, please click on the hyperlinked titles above.

To comment on the Common Formats, please visit the Common Formats for Patient Safety Data page on the NQF Web site.