Wednesday, February 4, 2009

AHRQ Awards Contract

AHRQ awarded $618,000 via their “Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks” (ACTION) initiative to study how to implement a patient safety event reporting system for consumers. Research Triangle Institute (RTI) with Baruch College and Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS) were selected to do this 20 month study project.

The study will make recommendations on offering a consumer reporting system for patient safety events, how to identify the information that needs to be collected from consumers, and how to determine what mechanisms are needed to capture consumer reporting.

“Consumers are an untapped resource to help us learn about vulnerabilities in the healthcare system and often are the only sources of information on the continuum of care for themselves or a family member,” said CAPS President, Susan E. Sheridan. “Understanding patients and their experience with healthcare can improve the safety of care.”

Currently, consumer input on the safety of care has been done through consumer satisfaction surveys, but they tend to focus on interpersonal aspects of care, communicating needs, and their access to care issues. One of the limitations with satisfaction surveys is that they do not provide consumers with an opportunity to comment on patient safety events or provide narrative information on their experiences. Consumer narratives can be used to highlight system flaws that may be amenable to analysis and change.

“Patients are a critical part of the healthcare team and have an important role to play in ensuring the quality and safety of the care that they receive,” said William B. Munier, M.D., Director of AHRQ’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. “We look forward to the results of the initiative and to finding ways to use patient reports that will complement the information that is being collected by patient safety organizations.