By enabling PSOs to aggregate PSWP on their own and to contribute nonidentifiable PSWP to the NPSD, the stage has been set for breakthroughs in our understanding of how best to improve patient safety. The NPSD will facilitate the aggregation of sufficient volumes of patient safety event data to identify more rapidly the underlying patterns and causes of risks and hazards associated with the delivery of health care services.
As more providers and PSOs are able to aggregate data using the Common Formats developed by AHRQ, the Patient Safety Act authorizes AHRQ to facilitate the development of a network of patient safety databases that will aggregate nationally non-identifiable data on patient safety events. The goal of this effort is to enable better identification of trends and permit analysis of the underlying causes of even the rarest patient safety events. The Act permits, but does not require, PSOs, health care providers, or others to voluntarily contribute nonidentifiable data to this effort.
In collaboration with the Federal Patient Safety Workgroup (PSWG), the National Quality Forum (NQF), and the public, AHRQ has developed Common Formats for two settings of care—acute care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
The Patient Safety Act and Rule recognize that aggregation of patient safety events requires the use of common definitions and reporting formats. To facilitate the collection and reporting of patient safety events envisioned by the Patient Safety Act, AHRQ developed, and is continuing to expand develop, Common Formats for use in multiple health care settings by health care providers and PSOs. However, it is important to recognize that Common Formats can be used by providers and other organizations that do not work with a PSO but are dedicated to improving care quality.