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AABB > Press Room > Press Releases

For Immediate Release
December 17, 2008 
Jennifer Garfinkel

 AABB Named a Patient Safety Organization by Department of Health and Human Services 

PSO Designation is Integral to Establishing a Collaborative National Biovigilance Network Designed to Enhance Patient Safety and Protect Donor Health in Transfusion and Transplantation Medicine

Bethesda, Md. – AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) today announced that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has listed AABB’s Patient and Donor Safety Center as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO). The listing is integral to establishing the U.S. Biovigilance Network, a unique public/private collaboration designed to enhance patient safety and protect donor health in transfusion and transplantation medicine.


The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 authorized the creation of PSOs to reduce the incidence of events that adversely affect patients. PSOs are designed to improve the quality and safety of U.S. health care by encouraging clinicians and health care organizations to report and share — voluntarily — data on patient safety events without fear of legal discovery. 


“The designation of AABB’s Patient and Donor Safety Center as a Patient Safety Organization is extremely important,” said Karen Shoos Lipton, AABB’s CEO. “As a PSO, AABB’s Patient and Donor Safety Center is able to ensure a secure and confidential environment that allows clinicians and health care organizations to contribute valuable data that will be analyzed to enhance patient safety.” 


AABB, an international association representing individuals and institutions involved in activities related to transfusion medicine and cellular therapies, sought out the PSO designation on behalf of its Patient and Donor Safety Center in conjunction with its efforts to establish and support the U.S. Biovigilance Network. The listing is published on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) PSO Web site (www.pso.ahrq.gov) and will be effective for a period of three years. 


The U.S. Biovigilance Network — a collaborative effort among the federal government, AABB, and other key stakeholders in the field is designed to collect data for expert review and analysis that will identify trends and recommend best practices to reduce adverse reactions and incidents associated with blood transfusion and related biological therapies.  Ultimately, the analyses of these data will help enhance patient safety, protect donor health, make better use of blood, tissue, organs, and cellular products, and reduce healthcare costs.


The U.S. Biovigilance Network is expected to launch in 2009. Recipient Hemovigilance, a module of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will pilot in January 2009 with nine hospitals.  Analysis of the data on adverse reactions and incidents associated with blood transfusion from this system, when fully implemented, will lead to process improvements that may result in new standards of quality and safety for the collection, testing, processing, storage, distribution and transfusion of blood. It also will allow for the design of interventions that can be adopted nationally. 


For more information about the U.S. Biovigilance Network, please visit www.aabb.org/biovigilance.


About AABB
Established in 1947, AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) is an international, not-for-profit association dedicated to the advancement of science and the practice of transfusion medicine and related biological therapies.  The association is committed to improving health by developing and delivering standards, accreditation and educational programs and services to optimize patient and donor care and safety.  AABB membership consists of approximately 1,800 institutions and 8,000 individuals, including physicians, scientists, administrators, medical technologists, nurses, researchers, blood donor recruiters and public relations personnel.  Members are located in all 50 states and 80 countries.


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