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State’s Patient Safety Authority revamps approach to better gauge progress

The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is fine-tuning its efforts to reduce risks for patients seeking care from health care facilities in the commonwealth.

The Harrisburg-based agency, which is focused on reducing medical errors and improving patient safety, announced last week that it will be enhancing its patient safety liaison program.

The liaison program offers guidance and education to about 570 health care facilities in the state, and collects feedback, as well.

Each region of the commonwealth has a dedicated patient safety liaison representative who visits about 80 hospitals around twice a year.

Representatives currently focus on different subjects, according to Michelle Bell, who is the director of outreach and education at the Authority.

Under the new approach, representatives will coordinate their focus.

By working with providers across the state on the same subject, the authority hopes to improve how it measures progress in improving patient safety.

“Ultimately we’ll be able to see our impact a little bit better,” Bell said.

Bell was appointed by the authority’s new executive director, Regina Hoffman, to overhaul the patient safety liaison. Hoffman joined the authority in April.

The authority is currently working with hospitals on updated reporting requirements under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, or MCARE.

In 2015, health care providers all acute level facilities submitted 238,890 reports to the authority. There were 7,732 serious events, an increase from 2014, and a 22 percent increase in patient deaths, according to the authority.

The authority believes that the increase reflects more detailed reporting requirements. It is looking to standardize the reports so that the data can be better analyzed to determine the actual reason for the increase in patient deaths.

Lenay Ruhl

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