AHRQ Work With Connecticut Hospitals Results in New Legislation to Improve Patient Safety
Connecticut's not-for-profit hospitals share a commitment to patient safety. As a reflection of that commitment, the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) participated in the first class of the National Patient Safety Improvement Corps (PSIC), sponsored jointly by AHRQ and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The PSIC-AHRQ/VA partnership seeks to improve patient safety in local communities by providing knowledge and skills to teams of state field staff and hospital partners selected by states. The program consists of three one-week sessions held over a nine-month period and includes a course-related patient safety team project during this period.
For their PSIC project, CHA and the team members from the Connecticut Department of Public Health studied Connecticut's adverse event reporting system. The PSIC team's study aided the deliberations of the Department of Public Health's Quality in Health Care Advisory Committee, which was developing formal recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the state's adverse event reporting system. The Committee's recommendations were incorporated in legislation enacted by the Connecticut legislature in May 2004.
One of the Committee's recommendations was to enable the creation of patient safety organizations through which providers could learn from each other's experiences by confidentially sharing detailed patient safety information. Using the training received in the PSIC program as a foundation, CHA's education and quality affiliate, the Connecticut Healthcare Research and Education Foundation (CHREF), applied for and obtained designation as a patient safety organization under Connecticut's new law.
"The formal PSIC training, as well as the informal interactions with faculty and other PSIC participants, were invaluable in assisting CHREF in developing the patient safety organization and will continue to help us design effective patient safety programs," said Jennifer Jackson, President and CEO of CHA and CHREF.
The mission of the CHREF patient safety organization is to promote patient safety by identifying and disseminating reliable information that can be used to reduce adverse events and enhance the quality of health care provided in Connecticut. All 30 of Connecticut's not-for-profit acute care hospitals have enrolled in the program.