Tennessee Hospital Association PSO,
a component of the Tennessee Hospital Association
In an effort to help healthcare organizations advance patient safety through learning from adverse events, the federal government established patient safety organizations (PSOs) via the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (PSQIA).
In the PSO program, member organizations voluntarily share adverse event information to a PSO for aggregation and analysis. The reported information, known as ‘patient safety work product (PSWP)’, receives federal confidentiality and privilege protection. As PSOs analyze adverse event information from multiple organizations, they gain insights into common contributing factors, event trends, and key learnings that are then shared with PSO member organizations through personal feedback, development of guidelines, or education offerings such as publications, webinars, and inservices.
Reported patient safety work product (PSWP) is protected by federal law. It may not be used in criminal, civil, administrative, or disciplinary proceedings. PSWP may only be disclosed pursuant to an applicable disclosure permission specified in the rule.
These protections are in place to encourage participation in the reporting and study of patient safety events. Strong privacy and confidentiality protections may lead providers to discuss adverse events, and the causes of those events, without the fear of liability from the information shared regarding the events. As more providers participate in sharing and discussing patient safety events, there will be more opportunity to acknowledge and address the causes of events and to improve patient safety.