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Washington Highlights

AHRQ Announces New Consumer Reporting System Proposal

September 28, 2012—The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced in the Sept. 10 Federal Register a new “Prototype Consumer Reporting System for Patient Safety Events” project, which is aimed at increasing patient reporting of unsafe practices and mistakes by hospitals, doctors, and other medical practitioners. AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy gave a Sept. 22 interview promoting the new project.

The questionnaire, which will be available at kiosks in hospitals and physician offices, asks the patient to describe the medical mistake or unsafe practice, when and where it occurred, and whether there was harm. Patients are also prompted to choose from a list of possible reasons as to why the mistake occurred. These options include:

  • A doctor, nurse or other health care provider did not communicate well with the patient or the patient’s family
  • A health care provider didn’t respect the patient’s race, language, or culture.
  • A health care provider didn’t seem to care about the patient.

As proposed, patients would submit this information through a Web site or in telephone interviews.Information describing the project will also be mailed to patients’ homes. The reporting process is voluntary and information would be kept confidential. At this time there is no mechanism for patients to report specific adverse events to the government.

The project has not yet been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but AHRQ hopes to start collecting information in May.  Comments on the proposed project are due by Nov. 9. The AAMC will be submitting comments.


Scott Wetzel, M.P.P.
Lead, Quality Reporting
Telephone: 202-828-0495


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Telephone: 202-903-0806