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Patient Safety Organization First of Its Kind in Downstate Illinois


A new Springfield-based organization dedicated to patient safety has received federal certification as one of only 10 patient safety organizations in Illinois and the only one of its kind outside of Chicago.

The Quality Alliance Patient Safety Organization, part of the Midwest Healthcare Quality Alliance, received the designation from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality effective on Oct. 16.

“We are excited to bring this new venture to central Illinois as a vehicle for innovation in advancing health-care quality and safety,” said Charles Callahan, co-executive director of the Midwest Healthcare Quality Alliance and executive vice president and chief operating officer for Memorial Health System. “This patient safety organization is unique in the way it promotes collaboration among aligned organizations seeking to dramatically improve patient care across the region.”

Patient safety organizations (PSOs) primarily focus on improving patient safety and health-care quality. PSOs encourage clinicians and health-care organizations to voluntarily report adverse patient events so the data from these incidents can be analyzed to prevent them from happening in the future.

The Quality Alliance Patient Safety Organization will seek a mix of all types of health-care providers from central Illinois to participate, said Carol Hafley, the PSO’s system director. They can include hospitals, ambulance services, long-term care facilities and physicians’ offices.

Congress developed and enacted the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 in response to the Institute of Medicine report, To Err is Human, which sparked national concern over the number of preventable medical errors that were occurring, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Only 84 patient safety organizations in 31 states and the District of Columbia are currently recognized by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The Midwest Healthcare Quality Alliance is a partnership between Memorial Health System and Southern Illinois University HealthCare, launched in January 2014.

The Midwest Healthcare Quality Alliance will ultimately be housed in the new Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation, currently under construction at the intersection of Miller and Rutledge streets on the Memorial Medical Center campus. The four-story building is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

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