The number of designated patient-safety organizations, or PSOs, continues to grow faster than originally anticipated by the federal agency overseeing the program.
Last week, the group purchasing and quality network Premier announced it had formed a PSO subsidiary to collect and analyze patient data. With that organization, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality had 54 PSOs listed in 27 states as of March 20, said William Munier, director of the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at AHRQ. Applications continue to come in to the agency, which last year had estimated it would designate 50 PSOs during the first year of operation. The numbers are slightly ahead because of large interest among groups to form PSOs, Munier said.
The federal agency expects to release this summer a set of common formats, developed with help by the National Quality Forum, that hospitals can use when submitting data to PSOs to help ensure information is being compared accurately, Munier said. Common formats for long-term-care facilities and other types of providers will be rolled out over time as well.
Huntsville (Ala.) Hospital, which has been focusing on safety initiatives such as hand hygiene, and infection and falls prevention over the past year, is exploring the possibility of joining a PSO, said Jeff Samz, chief operating officer of the 832-bed facility. The kinds of things being worked on, most hospitals are doing anyway, he said. Providers thinking of participating in a data-sharing initiative have to consider how securely the information will be kept, whether the PSOs technology is compatible with hospital systems and the costs involved, Samz said.