The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-41) established a system of patient safety organizations (PSO) and a national patient safety database. The Act also created privilege and confidentiality protections for Patient Work Safety Product (PWSP). The Act defined PWSP to include any data, reports, records, memoranda, analyses, written or oral statements (or copies thereof), which could improve patient safety, health care quality, or health care outcomes, that are compiled or produced by a provider for reporting to a PSO and are reported to a PSO. In addition, it incorporated information that is documented within a patient evaluation system; i.e., a safety system that will be sent to a PSO for the purposes of conducting patient safety activities.

The Act is the result of concern over patient safety issues cited in the Institute of Medicine’s report, “To Err is Human.” The report recognizes that the health care system in the United States is behind in ensuring basic safety when compared to other high-risk industries.

The entire Act can be accessed at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ041.109

The Institute of Medicine report to “Err is Human’’ is available at:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309068371