The PSO Privacy Protection Center


The Patient Safety Organization Privacy Protection Center (PSOPPC) was created by AHRQ to support the implementation of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (Patient Safety Act). The PSOPPC provides technical assistance to PSOs to ensure that patient safety event data is rendered nonidentifiable in a consistent manner for submission/reporting to the Network of Patient Safety Databases (NPSD). The PSOPPC also offers technical assistance on the use of AHRQ’s Common Formats.

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The PSOPPC provides technical support and serves as the repository for Common Formats. The Common Formats promote consistent event reporting by all providers and health care organizations (HCOs), while allowing for aggregation and analysis at the local, regional, and national level.


The PSOPPC offers a broad range of technical assistance services, such as—

  • Educating PSOs on the format for submitting nonidentifiable patient safety event information to the NPSD.
  • Rendering PSO patient safety event data nonidentifiable.
  • Coordinating activities for PSOs, including conferences and workgroups.
  • Providing technical assistance on Common Formats.

Interested Parties

The PSOPPC helps provide technical assistance to PSOs. HCOs and software vendors interested in implementing common definitions and reporting formats for patient safety event data will also use the PSOPPC as a valuable technical resource.

Settings of Care

Common Formats are available for use in acute care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. There are also Common Formats to facilitate retrospective analysis of hospital readmissions. AHRQ expects to develop Common Formats for other care settings over time.

Participating Agencies and Institutions

AHRQ convenes the Federal interagency Patient Safety Workgroup (PSWG) to assist with developing and maintaining the Common Formats. The PSWG currently includes—

  • Major health agencies within HHS.
  • Department of Defense (Health Affairs).
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans Health Administration).

Through a contract with AHRQ, the National Quality Forum (NQF) solicits feedback on each version of the Common Formats from private sector organizations and individuals, and then convenes an expert panel to review the comments and provide feedback. Based upon the expert panel's feedback, AHRQ and the PSWG further revise the Common Formats.

Go to the PSOPPPC site.

Page last reviewed September 2018
Page originally created August 2013
Internet Citation: The PSO Privacy Protection Center. Content last reviewed September 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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