Development of Common Formats
The Development Process
AHRQ refines existing Common Formats and considers new types for development on an ongoing basis. The first step after development of a new or updated Common Formats is review by the Patient Safety Workgroup (PSWG) to assure consistency with definitions and formats used by other Federal agencies. The PSWG includes representatives from several agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and from patient safety programs in the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. After addressing recommendations made by the PSWG, AHRQ seeks input from the public. A Notice of Availability to comment on the draft Common Formats is published in the Federal Register and the draft is posted on the National Quality Forum (NQF) Common Formats for Patient Safety Data website. The NQF website contains a tool that any member of the public can use to submit comments.
After the initial comment period, the NQF convenes a meeting of the NQF Common Formats Expert Panel to review comments submitted by the public. These meetings are announced on the same NQF website and are open to the public. The NQF Expert Panel reviews the comments and makes recommendations to AHRQ.
AHRQ then finalizes the Common Formats draft and releases it through the PSO Privacy Protection Center (PSOPPC). New Common Formats may be released as a "beta" version, which includes only the event description. Once finalized, a version number is assigned, such as "CFER-H V2.0." Final Common Formats are released with a complete set of technical specifications that provide direction to software developers for electronic implementation.
The final Common Formats versions are also posted on the NQF website, where public comment can be submitted on an ongoing basis. The comments are periodically reviewed and considered for future updates.