Data sent to PSOs must stay protected, say risk managers


Current court cases in which efforts are being made to make data sent to patient safety organizations (PSOs) discoverable threaten to adversely affect patient safety in the long run. 

That is the view of a unanimous 100 percent of readers surveyed by Healthcare Risk Management Review.

Many noted that the reluctance of persons to report an event or issue is hampered when there is no confidentiality in reporting or working on issues related to patient safety.

“The knowledge that information gathered in a PSO review might be discoverable would having a chilling effect on being honest, thorough and diligent in understanding root causes of incidents,” said one reader.

“Certain staff members most directly involved in an incident would likely be less forthcoming with key, critical information, especially if the incident also involves human error.”

“While we will continue to do our best to improve failed processes, the opportunities associated with shared learning and transparency may be lost,” said another respondent.  

Another said that it would be difficult for healthcare to make necessary improvements without being able to study comparative data and discuss cause and effective openly for fear of litigation and discovery. 

“Tort reform is so necessary,” they added.

Many echoed the view that to have real improvement it is imperative to be able to use quantitative rather than qualitative analysis.  

“These challenges hamper our ability to build the database necessary for scientific research and applications,” said one reader.  

One drew comparisons with aviation, noting: “Confidentiality in aviation is what got them to their high reliability.”

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Healthcare Risk Management Review, US