AHRQ Quality and Safety Review System (QSRS)
Improved Patient Safety Monitoring
The Institute of Medicine report, To Err Is Human, revealed more than 15 years ago the extent of medical errors that occur in U.S. hospitals. Safety experts—including AHRQ, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and other Federal partners—realized that hospitals needed to understand specifically how and where adverse events were occurring in order to prevent them. In response to this challenge, CMS created the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS) to measure the magnitude of adverse events among hospital patients covered by Medicare and to create a baseline to assess the impact of national patient safety initiatives. Transferred to AHRQ in 2009, MPSMS is now in its 15th year. This chart review-based surveillance system determines national rates for 21 types of adverse events, including certain hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), such as postsurgical complications and pressure ulcers but has some limitations that AHRQ is addressing with a new surveillance system.
AHRQ has developed and tested an improved patient safety surveillance system to replace MPSMS that is known as the Quality and Safety Review System (QSRS). The QSRS relies on clinical information recorded in medical records, and the system has been designed to make use of structured data where it is or may become available. The use of reliable structured data, such as medication prescriptions and laboratory test results that are relevant to patient safety events, offers opportunities to further enhance the efficiency of the QSRS by automatically drawing this information from an electronic health record. Overall, the QSRS will generate adverse event rates and trend performance over time. Unlike MPSMS, the QSRS was designed to serve as a local hospital and health system tool to identify and measure adverse events.
The QSRS also:
- Offers an expanded array of adverse event measures, including ones related to opioid use/misuse, surgical site infections, and other surgical and anesthesia-related adverse events, as well as obstetric and neonatal adverse events.
- Captures an “all-cause harm” measurement that hospitals and clinicians can use to better target and measure quality improvement efforts.
- Provides additional detail for the most frequently occurring events, e.g., not just fall rates over a given time, but also the percentage of falls that resulted in injury and the rates of each specific type of injury.
- Uses standardized definitions and algorithms, consistent with those used by the AHRQ Common Formats for Event Reporting, and other measures such as those associated with the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network. This approach ensures that an event identified at one institution is the same as one identified elsewhere.
AHRQ envisions that the QSRS will meet the needs of a variety of users, including hospital providers served by Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs). PSOs may choose to offer services to hospitals that use the QSRS, such as abstracting information from medical records for entry into the QSRS, analyzing the results, and generating feedback about patient safety. The QSRS website is password protected and limited to certain users who have been given access. Over time, additional users will be granted access.
AHRQ awarded contracts to Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, and the MedStar Health Research Institute, Washington, DC, to assess the accuracy, efficiency, and usability of the QSRS during a pilot test in hospitals.
Feasibility of eAbstraction
This report assesses the feasibility of minimizing the need for human abstraction of medical records, which is currently required when using the QSRS. This report was completed in 2016, and efforts are underway to update the report based on new knowledge and available technology.