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Using Patient Safety Organizations to Improve Quality, Safety, and Efficiency in Health Care

Wednesday, April 9, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Alpert
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The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) and the Alliance for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (AQIPS) have announced a cooperative educational program to be offered on site at the 16th Annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress, May 14-16, 2014, in Orlando, FL.

The program, Using Patient Safety Organizations to Improve Quality, Safety, and Efficiency in Health Care, will help health care professionals understand how they can work with a patient safety organization (PSO) to advance their patient safety goals.

Hospitals and health systems are learning that PSOs can help them solve their own problems by creating a learning system or a high reliability organization in a culture of safety. PSOs are not government programs and thus allow the hospital or health system to break the silos created by state peer-protection limitations to create innovative programs that spur quality improvement. The program that AQIPS is organizing at the NPSF Congress is designed not only to educate attendees about the benefits of working with a PSO, but also to share best practices and exciting quality improvement programs.

The federal PSO program began as a result of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. Part of the goal of the Patient Safety Act was to encourage health professionals and health care organizations to voluntarily report data—good or bad—without the risk of legal ramifications. PSOs are entities established to collect, aggregate, analyze, and share health data relevant to quality and safety.

“The purpose of a PSO is to develop a learning system across the health care continuum to improve patient care, reduce health care costs, and save lives in a privileged and confidential environment without fear of litigation or reputation harm,” said Peggy Binzer, executive director, AQIPS. “PSOs are working to help hospitals and health systems create innovative programs and share evidence-based solutions to improve the quality and safety of care.”

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) sets standards by which PSOs are expected to operate. PSOs may be public or private entities, or they may be offshoots of other organizations, such as a state hospital association. There are more than 70 PSOs currently recognized by AHRQ.

“The health care system is already seeing the benefits of the PSO program, and we anticipate continued progress as more hospitals become involved,” said Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, president, NPSF. “We are very pleased to be working with AQIPS in helping health care professionals optimize their work with PSOs.”

This half-day program is one of several Pre-Congress sessions being offered on May 14. Participants may register for this program only, or for the full NPSF Congress, May 14-16, 2014. For details about this and other programs, including how to register, visit

About the National Patient Safety Foundation

The National Patient Safety Foundation’s vision is to create a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm. A central voice for patient safety since 1997, NPSF partners with patients and families, the health care community, and key stakeholders to advance patient safety and health care workforce safety and disseminate strategies to prevent harm. NPSF is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.


AQIPS is a national professional association for PSOs and their member health care providers whose mission is to foster the ability of PSOs to improve the quality of patient care through the privilege and confidentiality protections of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act. For more information, visit

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