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Ensuring Making Health Care Safer III Lives up to Its Name


  • AHRQ wanted to expand efforts to improve the safety and quality of patient care across settings.
  • Abt & IMPAQ developed a new conceptual framework that captures a patient’s continuum of care.
  • MHCSIII expands efforts to improve patient safety beyond acute care with easy-to-use findings for stakeholders.
The Challenge

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Making Health Care Safer (MHCS) reports have had an important role in reducing harm and improving the safety and quality of care for patients. The reports—providing an analysis of the evidence for various patient safety practices (PSPs)—have served as a source of information for multiple stakeholders. To improve patient safety across settings and identify contextual factors that contribute to successful PSP implementation, AHRQ enlisted Abt Global and IMPAQ International to develop MHCSIII.

The Approach

The project team developed a new conceptual framework that considers the whole patient through the continuum of care, then conducted literature reviews focused on the harms that are relevant to a particular patient at a particular point in their care. MHCSIII makes stakeholders aware of both the harms that can befall patients during movement between settings and the risks they face from existing vulnerabilities and disparities. The report also addresses emerging themes and strategic goals championed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), including the opioid crisis and emerging health risks (e.g., multi-drug resistant organisms).

The Results

The MHCS reports have helped to shape the national discussion regarding patient safety issues on which providers, payers, policy makers, and patients and families should focus attention. MHCSIII has made strides in transitioning from a predominantly acute care PSP review to include PSPs from other settings and during transitions. The report is organized by “harm areas,” making the report easier to access for all patient safety stakeholders, who will be able to quickly locate topics of interest and importance to their particular needs and circumstances.

Related Publications:
Making Healthcare Safer III: A Critical Analysis of Existing and Emerging Patient Safety Practices