U.S. medical error reporting system to go live in 2008

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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) national voluntary system for reporting medical errors should be established and running by the middle of 2008, according to the acting director of AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, William Munier.

President Bush signed the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act in July 2005, one of only two pieces of health IT legislation passed by the 109th Congress.

The Washington, D.C.-based AHRQ said it will next propose regulations to govern the operations of patient safety organizations. Physicians and other health professionals will be able to confidentially report errors and close calls to the patient safety organizations, which cannot be insurance companies, according to Munier.

The rules that govern the patient safety organizations must be reviewed by several U.S. agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, so the system could take a long time to initiate, Munier said.