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AHRQ Provides Guidance on Collecting Quality, Patient Safety Information

Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media, April 7, 2010

Version 1.1 of the Common Formats is available only for acute care facilities, although there are versions in development for other settings. There are both generic and event-specific formats. The event specific formats include blood or blood product, device or medical/surgical supply, falls, healthcare-associated infection, medication or other substance, perinatal, pressure ulcer, and surgery or anesthesia.

Version 1.1 contains:

  • Descriptions of patient safety events and unsafe conditions to be reported

  • Specifications for patient safety aggregate reports and individual event summaries

  • Delineation of data elements to be collected for different types of events

  • A users guide

  • Technical specifications for collection and reporting of electronic data

In addition to offering guidance for electronically reporting the data, the technical specifications offer guidance, including flow charts, a data dictionary, and clinical documentation architecture guideline.

Heather Comak is a Managing Editor at HCPro, Inc., where she is the editor of the monthly publication Briefings on Patient Safety, as well as patient safety-related books and audio conferences. She is also is the Assistant Director of the Association for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals. Contact Heather by e-mailing

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