The Patient Safety Act authorizes AHRQ to list or designate entities as Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) that attest to having expertise in identifying the causes of, and interventions to reduce the risk of, threats to the quality and safety of patient care. The work of a PSO is not directed by AHRQ. PSOs essentially serve as contractors to providers and a PSO's activities for a provider are usually determined by the Patient Safety Act contract entered into by the parties.
The Patient Safety Act establishes criteria for an entity or a component of an entity (component organization) to seek listing as a PSO by AHRQ. The primary activity of an entity or component organization seeking to be listed as a PSO must be to conduct activities to improve patient safety and health care quality. A PSO's workforce must have expertise in analyzing patient safety events, such as the identification, analysis, prevention, and reduction or elimination of the risks and hazards associated with the delivery of patient care. Refer to Patient Safety Rule Section 3.102 for the complete list of requirements.