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HHS on Patient Safety Reporting



HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today [November 25, 2002] announced a $5.9 million contract to improve the department’s collection and reporting of patient safety data.


The two-year contract will lead to the development of a new Web-based system that will integrate and simplify existing systems now operated by several HHS agencies to improve reporting and make the systems easier for frontline medical care providers to use.


"It is important that we reduce the burdens that providers face today in reporting information on patient safety," Secretary Thompson said. "If we can achieve that goal, then we can more easily and quickly collect that information and get it to the people who can use it to improve the quality and safety of the care all Americans receive."


HHS presently operates a number of systems to collect information that helps to monitor health care safety; compliance with existing regulations on blood products, devices, drugs; and the safety of patients in Medicare-funded institutions. This contract, awarded through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), will lead to the development of a system to link existing reporting systems and integrate data from the National Healthcare Safety Network, operated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the drug, biologics, vaccine and devices adverse events reporting systems that receive reports from doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers, run by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


The contract represents a significant step towards the goal of a more complete systems integration, automated data reporting and standards-based solution for health data exchange. The common system will ultimately include all safety-related systems operated by the CDC, the FDA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Together with AHRQ, these agencies comprise the HHS Patient Safety Task Force, established by Secretary Thompson to study how to implement a user-friendly internet-based patient safety reporting format.


"Our agencies are working together to integrate existing data collection systems on medical errors to improve the quality and safety of health care in America," said AHRQ’s acting director Carolyn Clancy, M.D. "It is vitally important to learn as much as we can about how errors occur and get that information to the people in the health care system who can use it to improve services."


The contract, awarded to the KEVRIC Company, Inc., of Silver Spring, Md., a small, women-owned business, is for the first phase of the department’s efforts to address Secretary Thompson’s mandate to integrate existing data collection systems. The project ultimately would be expanded to include non-HHS entities such as state health departments, accrediting entities such as the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and systems in other countries such as the United Kingdom.



Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at








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