USF creates national patient safety center to study fall-related injuries, medication errors

TAMPA, Fla. A national center to study patient safety with a focus on preventing injuries from falls and medication errors has been created at the University of South Florida.

USF, in collaboration with the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry at James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, was this month awarded a three-year, $600,000 grant from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish the Suncoast Developmental Center for Patient Safety Evaluation & Research. The center will bring together health professionals from universities, the Veterans Administrations' regional health care networks, and community hospitals and agencies to share and analyze data on fall-related injuries and medication errors, particularly among elderly patients.

"This is a major accomplishment. We've received the federal seal of approval as a center for patient safety research," said principal investigator Jay Wolfson, DrPH, JD, USF professor of public health and medicine. "USF will work with the VA and the community in developing innovative approaches to improve patient safety in hospitals, long-term care facilities and homes."

The Suncoast Center's team will translate findings about patient falls and medication errors into educational programs and clinical practices and technologies that will make the health care system safer, Dr. Wolfson said. It will build on the success of the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, established at James A. Haley VA Hospital in 1999 and directed by Audrey Nelson, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate director of clinical research for the USF College of Nursing.

The VA's interdisciplinary center has already attracted more than $12 million in research and infrastructure funding to maximize the mobility, safety and quality of life of the frail elderly and people with disabilities two populations at high risk for falls. The new AHRQ funding to USF will help expand the patient safety research begun in the veterans hos

Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
University of South Florida Health

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