PSOs Can Help Prevent Future Patient Safety Events

About 59% of U.S. hospitals participate in a patient safety organization (PSO) program, according to an analysis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG).
PSOs were created through the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, and are used to collect, aggregate, and analyze patient safety information submitted by providers. All aspects of participation in a PSO program are voluntary.
Members of PSOs can collaborate freely in a privileged and confidential environment to discuss patient safety and quality issues. Such “safe table” meetings look at case scenarios such as suicide, opioids, behavioral health, medical errors, falls, shootings, etc. PSOs collect data and analysis of errors and near misses and, since they receive data from multiple sources, a PSO can identify event clusters earlier than individual members could.
The OIG found that nearly all hospitals with a PSO find it valuable. Among hospitals that work with a PSO, 80% find that the PSO's feedback and analysis on patient safety events have helped prevent future patient safety events. However, hospitals that do not participate in a PSO felt that PSOs are not distinct from other patient safety efforts. The OIG recommended that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which oversees the PSO program, undertake a strategy to communicate PSOs’ benefits.
In Massachusetts, MHA has selected the ECRI Institute as a patient safety organization available to MHA members, although some member hospitals are affiliated with other PSOs. Any hospital interested in learning more about ECRI or PSOs in general may contact Vice President of Clinical Integration Steven Defossez, M.D., at sdefossez@mhalink.org.