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Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Hires Patient Safety Liaison (PSL) to Help Healthcare Facilities Implement Guidance
Date:6/11/2009

The position will be based in the south central region of PA with more hires planned throughout the state within the next several months

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority has hired a Patient Safety Liaison for the south central region to help healthcare facilities that report through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) implement guidance published in the Patient Safety Advisories.

The Patient Safety Liaison program began last year in northeastern Pennsylvania. In May, the Authority hired a PSL for the northwestern region of the state. The program, according to the Authority's Director of Educational Programs, Fran Charney, has given the Authority and healthcare facilities reporting through PA-PSRS an opportunity to discuss what patient safety initiatives have been successful and what opportunities still exist within their facilities. Due to feedback received from facilities, new educational programs to reduce healthcare-associated infections and the mislabeling of blood specimens have been developed.

"Facilities have been very receptive to the Authority and the Patient Safety Liaison program in general," Charney said. "Our new educational programs are a result of the feedback we've received from the hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities.

"The Patient Safety Officers are happy to have the helping hand that the PSL provides in making them aware of the Authority's educational toolkits and developing programs specifically for their areas of interest," Charney added.

Christina DeCoskey, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania has been hired as the south central Patient Safety Liaison. DeCoskey previously worked as the clinical performance coordinator at the Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill. In that role, she coordinated teams to develop patient safety initiatives and adhere to health regulations.

DeCoskey also received an honorary achievement award from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) for her work in medication reconciliation policies. The work involves ensuring that patients and families play a critical role in providing accurate medication history including both prescribed and over the counter mediations to their healthcare providers so the appropriate medication plan is provided to them.

"Chris brings a wealth of clinical knowledge in various care areas to her role as the Patient Safety Liaison," Charney said. "While at Holy Spirit Hospital, she devoted a considerable amount of time to helping the facility reach goals to reduce medication errors and healthcare-associated infections. Healthcare facilities are reporting these events frequently to the Patient Safety Authority."

Charney said other duties of the PSL include: helping the Authority gain a better understanding of the patient safety issues facing patients and facilities; assisting facilities with analyzing their data and utilizing the Authority's guidance to reduce and eliminate harmful events; identifying training needs and coordinating education and focus sessions with hospitals on a regional or individual level with personnel from the Authority's PSLs as well as contractors, ECRI Institute and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP); delivering presentations at individual hospitals, local professional societies and other interest groups regarding the Authority's role, mission and activities and fostering patient safety networks among facilities in the region.

"The Patient Safety Liaison program has provided the facilities and the Authority with opportunities to help one another to improve patient safety in their individual institutions," Charney said. "The program is a different approach that's working to help the Authority and the healthcare facilities reach their common goal of improving patient safety by reducing and eliminating medical errors."

BACKGROUND

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is an independent state agency created by Act 13 of 2002, the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error ("Mcare") Act, to help reduce and eliminate medical errors through education.

More than 900,000 reports have been submitted through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) since the program was initiated in June 2004. Approximately, 96 percent of these reports are Incidents or "near misses." Based on those reports, the Authority issues quarterly Patient Safety Advisories to give guidance to hospitals and other healthcare facilities about steps they can take to reduce and prevent patient harm.

For more information on the Patient Safety Authority visit the Authority's website at www.patientsafetyauthority.org.


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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