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HHS Issues Interim Guidance for Patient Safety Organizations
Date:10/8/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New interim guidance that outlines how to become a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) is now available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (Patient Safety Act) authorized the creation of PSOs to improve safety through the collection and analysis of data on patient safety events. By providing both privilege and confidentiality, PSOs will create a secure environment where clinicians and health care organizations can voluntarily collect, aggregate and analyze data that enable the identification and reduction of the risks and hazards associated with patient care.

The interim guidance allows HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to begin receiving applications from qualified entities that wish to become PSOs. This guidance will remain effective until HHS issues a final rule for PSOs, which will then supersede the interim guidance. A final rule is expected to be released by the end of 2008.

"We know that clinicians and health care organizations are anxious to begin these important new patient safety improvement efforts under the Patient Safety Act," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "As we move expeditiously toward a final rule, this interim guidance will help organizations interested in applying now to become Patient Safety Organizations to undertake work that will improve the quality of America's health care."

The interim guidance describes how an organization may become a PSO by submitting a certification form that is available on AHRQ's PSO Web site. The Web site includes more explanation of the certification process and instructions for submitting this form either electronically or via mail. When the organization's certifications are accepted, AHRQ will list the entity as a PSO on the AHRQ PSO Web site.

"Patient safety work product," which is the data submitted by the health care provider to a
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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