NQF releases patient safety framework

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

February 15, 2006

The National Quality Forum (NQF) on Tuesday released a standardized classification system for patient safety data that the organization claims will lead to a better understanding of medical errors.

The Patient Safety Event Taxonomy (PSET) will enable interoperability of reporting systems and comparability of information across systems and over time, the NQF said in a release. The JCAHO developed the PSET with the assistance of a work group comprised of representatives of provider and health professional organizations and the federal government.

The PSET provides a structure to categorize and analyze occurrences that threaten patient safety (i.e., any risk, event, error, hazardous condition, or set of circumstances that has harmed or could harm patients), according to the NQF. Hundreds of entities-including federal and state agencies, insurance companies, and individual healthcare providers-collect information about healthcare safety, including details of instances in which patient safety is endangered.

The NQF endorsed PSET in August 2005, granting it special legal status as a voluntary consensus standard. The executive summary and portions of the report, Standardizing a Patient Safety Taxonomy, are available here.