AHRQ publishes data formats for some electronic reporting

Updated formats include technical specifications for electronic reporting for the first time

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released an updated version of its common formats for patient safety data reporting that for the first time includes technical specifications for electronic reporting.

The AHRQ is distributing the Common Formats Version 1.1 as authorized under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, according to a notice in the Federal Register dated March 31.

The new version updates to the first set of common formats released in September 2009 for paper-based reporting of patient safety incidents, unsafe conditions and near misses. The data is reported to 80 nationwide patient safety organizations.

The updated version of the common formats includes technical specifications to promote standardization of the data by specifying rules for data collection and submission, and by providing guidance to software developers and to patient safety organizations so the data can be collected and submitted electronically.

The common formats include a data dictionary, which defines the data elements; a clinical document architecture implementation guide, which shows how to enable electronic transmission of the common formats data; a validation rules and errors guide; common format flow charts; and specifications for processing, linking and reporting on events.

Eight of the common formats pertain to data related to specific types of events, including events involving blood products, medical devices, falls, health care-associated infections, medication, perinatal, pressure/ulcer conditions, and surgery or anesthesia.

The Common Formats Version 1.1 applies only to acute care hospitals. Future versions of the common formats are being developed for skilled nursing facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician and practitioner offices, AHRQ said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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