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Hospitals Now Able to Analyze Medical Mistakes without Fear of Lawsuits
Date:12/4/2008

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing concern over preventable harm to patients due to medical error has inspired a government agency to emulate a leading aviation safety system. An immediate outcome from recommendations in the IOM "Crossing the Quality Chasm" series of reports, is the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 that authorized the creation of Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs). PSOs will provide a secure environment in which clinicians and health care organizations can collect, aggregate, and analyze data that enable the identification and reduction of risks and hazards associated with patient care. Supporters note that fear of disclosure and isolated, non-standardized data have hampered the potential learning from data collected on patient safety events. Similar to NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), PSOs allow for voluntary participation of standardized and confidential reporting and analysis of data on adverse medical events, without the fear of legal discovery.

ASRS is the world's largest repository of aviation human factors information. Pilots anonymously report as many as 40,000 mistakes per year to this secure data base system maintained by NASA. Tracking reported errors for more than 30 years has allowed researchers to effectively pinpoint problems within the aviation system, identify safety risks and proactively address the problems before flying customers are jeopardized. In an effort to achieve similar success, the government has designed a health care safety reporting system utilizing multiple data collection agencies designated as Patient Safety Organizations.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently listed Human Performance Technology Group (HPTG) as one of the first PSOs. HPTG president Lindsey Donges, a commercial airline pilot, familiar with the benefits of NASA's ASRS system, created his company after experiencing errors
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SOURCE LifeWings Partners LLC
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