The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released Common Formats for Surveillance—Hospital. AHRQ first released Common Formats in 2008 to support event reporting in hospitals. AHRQ’s Common Formats establish a standardized method for health care providers to collect and exchange information regarding patient safety events. Use of the Common Formats for event reporting ensures consistency of reporting among Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) as they standardize the collection of patient safety event information using common language, definitions, and reporting formats.
The Common Formats for Surveillance—Hospital are designed to provide, through retrospective review of medical records, information that is complementary to that derived from event reporting systems. These Formats are slated to replace the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System, which is currently used by AHRQ and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish rates of occurrence of adverse events in the U.S. Surveillance Formats can be useful to institutions in understanding all-cause harm in their populations as well as providing information on the rates of occurrence of specific types of adverse events. Data will be captured in a system developed specifically for this purpose by AHRQ. With Common Formats products, the public has an opportunity to comment on all elements of the Common Formats through NQF commenting tools. An NQF Expert Panel provides AHRQ recommendations for addressing the comments, which AHRQ uses, along with input from its Federal Patient Safety Work Group, to evolve the Common Formats sets.
About the Project
NQF, on behalf of AHRQ, is coordinating a process to obtain comments from stakeholders about the Common Formats authorized by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (Patient Safety Act). The term "Common Formats" refers to the common definitions and reporting formats that allows collection and submission of standardized information regarding patient safety events. The scope of Common Formats for hospitals and for nursing homes applies to all patient safety concerns including incidents, near misses or close calls, and unsafe conditions. Common Formats for Surveillance—Hospitals applies only to incidents.
The Common Formats provide for basic information about all events and more granular information for the most commonly-occurring types of events using event descriptions, sample reports, and (for event reporting) report forms and technical specifications. Event descriptions provide specific delineation of the information to be captured for each type of patient safety event. The sample reports give examples of the types of reports that are available to Common Formats users. Report forms provide questions and response options to facilitate data collection. Technical specifications promote standardization by ensuring that data collected by PSOs and other entities are clinically and electronically comparable.
To date NQF has collected comments on all versions of Common Formats for hospitals, the beta version for nursing homes, and individual modules that have been integrated into these sets. It continues to collect comments on Hospitals Version 1.2. Future expansions of the Common Formats will include patient safety in ambulatory settings and, potentially, the domain of quality.
In addition to collecting comments on Common Formats for Hospitals Version 1.2, NQF is now collecting comments on twelve newly released modules of Common Formats for Surveillance—Hospitals. The set contains event descriptions and sample population reports. Until now, Common Formats have been designed to support only traditional event reporting. Common Formats for Surveillance—Hospital are designed to provide, through retrospective review of medical records, information that is complementary to that derived from event reporting systems. These formats will facilitate improved detection of events and calculation of adverse event rates in populations reviewed.
For more information about the Common Formats, visit the AHRQ website. You may also access the complete set of Common Formats, including generic and event-specific Common Formats.
The main purposes of the Common Formats are to:
- standardize patient safety event data collection, and
- permit aggregation of collected data for pattern analysis, learning, and trending of patient safety events.
NQF's Common Formats project enables AHRQ to receive and respond to stakeholder input and to receive expert guidance on refining the Common Formats.
NQF has established a process and tools for receiving comments on the Common Formats beginning with the release of each set and version and continuing for a specified period thereafter. This project is guided by an Expert Panel that considers and makes recommendations regarding comments from health care stakeholders. Previously, based upon the Expert Panel’s recommendations, AHRQ, in conjunction with an interagency Federal Patient Safety Work Group, revised and refined iterative versions of Common Formats for hospitals and nursing homes. AHRQ has now developed Common Formats for surveillance in hospitals.
The Expert Panel will continue to use relevant elements of NQF's Consensus Development Process to receive and review comments on new and updated sets of the Common Formats; however, the process will not involve voting or endorsement of any product.
Funding for this project has been provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
For more information, contact Melinda Murphy at 918-680-1239 or email@example.com.