New developments in the US: The Federal Patient Safety Act
In the US, a recently implemented law establishes innovative structures and processes for collecting national patient safety data with the goal of reducing medical error and improving patient safety. Under the law, called the Patient Safety Act, 1 healthcare providers may voluntarily submit information about adverse events to federally listed patient safety organizations (PSOs), newly established organizations that must meet certain criteria. PSOs perform analysis of aggregated data and, in turn, provide feedback with analysis and recommendations for improving patient safety and quality of care. As of March 21, 2010, there were 79 federally listed PSOs. 2
The Patient Safety Act provides federal legal privilege and confi dentialitythe fi rst federal protections of this kind in the US-applicable across all states and to all healthcare providers who choose to participate.