Henry Ford Health System: Patient Safety Organizations Provide Value

Hospitals with more than 50 beds that want to contract with a health plan participating in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges have to participate in a patient safety organization and establish a patient safety evaluation system, according to the Act. There are many other benefits of being part of a PSO too. All hospitals of Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System have participated in the Michigan Health and Hospital Association PSO since 2009. Carrie Tuskey, director of risk management at HFHS, discusses the value PSO participation has provided to the system.

Carrie TuskeyThe value of data aggregation
As their name suggests, "never events" should never occur; but if they do, they should occur only rarely. This infrequency, while positive in terms of patient safety, hinders the ability of a single facility to identify common causes and solutions. By aggregating never event reports from many hospitals, PSOs offer a "bigger picture" view, which is partly what attracted HFHS to PSO participation, according to Ms. Tuskey. "There's only so much learning you can do as a single organization. As you aggregate across many other hospitals, you get a better picture of the patterns and also improvements that work," she says.

An additional benefit of the MHA PSO is that it is managed by the larger ECRI Institute, which aggregates even more data, giving greater insight into why medical errors occur and how to prevent them. For example, the ECRI Institute released a deep dive report of health IT-related safety events last December. Two HIT-related events HFHS reported were chosen for the deep dive, which identified the biggest risk factors related to the broader use of electronic medical records.

Ms. Tuskey suggests other hospitals consider participating in a PSO to access insights from patient safety data analysis. "It's not hard, and you get out much more than you have to put into it," she says.

More Articles on Patient Safety Organizations:

7 Components of a Friendly Medical Error-Reporting Environment
ECRI Institute Q&A: Meeting the PPACA Patient Safety Organization Requirement
3 Florida Health System CEOs Share Quality Improvement Lessons

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