AHRQ Common Formats - Information for Hospitals and State Survey Agencies (SAs) - Comprehensive Patient Safety Reporting Using
AHRQ Common Formats
Hospitals are Required to Track Adverse Events: The Condition of Participation (CoP) for Quality Assessment and Performance
Improvement (QAPI) at 42 CFR 482.21(a)(2) requires hospitals to track adverse patient events. However, several recent reports
completed by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) indicated that hospitals fail
to identify most adverse events.
Use of the Common Formats May Help Hospitals Improve Tracking. The OIG suggested staff failure to understand what events need
to be reported to the hospital’s QAPI program contributes to the problems with internal tracking systems. The OIG recommended
that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) could
help hospitals improve their ability to track adverse patient safety events by disseminating information on AHRQ’s Common
Formats. The Common Formats define a systematic process for reporting adverse events, near misses, and unsafe conditions,
and allow a hospital to report harm from all causes. Hospital use of the AHRQ Common Formats is voluntary, but a hospital
that uses them and is adept at the analysis that they permit will be in a better position to meet the CMS QAPI requirements.
Common Formats version 1.2 can be accessed at www.psoppc.org
Surveyors Should be Familiar with the Common Formats: Surveyors may increasingly encounter use of the Common Formats in hospital
QAPI programs. We encourage all surveyors to develop a general understanding of this tool, and become knowledgeable regarding
how providers may access the relevant information about Common Formats.