Patient safety data formats get update

Formats cover incidents and near misses.

 The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released its updated data formats for data about incidents that affect patient safety.

The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 created a system to collect, aggregate and analyze electronic data on patient safety. Hospitals, doctors and other providers may volunteer to provide the data, which is confidential, to improve overall health care quality.

The AHRQ coordinates the development of common definitions and reporting formats for the data. A beta version was released a year ago and Version 1.0 of the expanded and enhanced common reporting formats is available, according to a Sept. 2 notice in the Federal Register.

The common formats are clinical definitions and technical requirements needed for uniform reporting. They include descriptions of patient safety events and unsafe conditions to be reported, data elements to be collected for specific types of events, specifications for patient safety population reports and technical specifications.

Patient safety events are those that harm or injure a patient, or came very close to doing so, that happen in the course of delivering care. They may involve failed or devices that are improperly-used, accidental falls or bumps, care-related infections, errors in medication or other care-related problems.

The AHRQ has been publicizing safety improvements from analyses of those events.


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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