Patient safety self-assessment helps shield practices from liability exposure


A new patient safety assessment created by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the Health Research and Education Trust (HRET) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) allows you to evaluate daily processes at your practice that affect patient safety. The tool’s development and a related study of patient safety in medical groups were supported by a grant from The Commonwealth Fund.


The Physician Practice Patient Safety Assessment (PPPSA) is a Web-based tool that allows practices to evaluate their effectiveness and minimize risk across multiple areas:

  • Medications – appropriate medication history, prescribing, storage, labeling, purchasing, dispensing of samples and administration of vaccines;
  • Handoffs and transitions of patients between clinicians or locations – proper procedures for care coordination to track patients and their clinical information;
  • Surgery and invasive procedures – patient safety issues relating to ambulatory surgery, especially sedation and anesthesia;
  • Personnel qualifications and competency – appropriately assessing the qualifications of caregivers;
  • Patient education and communication – actions that practices can take to help patients understand and carry out their responsibilities; and
  • Practice management and culture – administrative procedures to create a culture of safety.

Through use of the PPPSA, practices can:

  • Clarify opportunities for improvement;
  • Establish baseline measures of current procedures and evaluate progress over time;
  • Compare their data to aggregate national data for practices of similar size, structure or location;
  • Facilitate dialogue about patient safety among all levels of staff;
  • Minimize liability exposure; and
  • Enable improved care.

Practices that complete the PPPSA will receive a comprehensive workbook that can help identify problem areas and pathways to improvement. Data analysis and benchmarking information will also be available for a nominal fee to practices that submit their data online. All data submitted are confidential.

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