The Patient Safety Officer (PSO) has the primary responsibility to coordinate and serve as a resource for the development, implementation, review, and ongoing refinement of the patient safety program.
The Patient Safety Officer must also encourage leadership performance measurement and staff incentive programs that support patient safety improvement.
The PSO acts as a liaison for patient safety issues to and between the CEO, senior leaders, governing body, Patient Safety Team/Committee, organization, and external organizations.
The PSO coordinates patient safety education and activities that support the patient safety program (e.g., governing body presentations and leadership rounding)(IHI, 2006).
While the PSO is not always the team leader, the PSO will coordinate activities of the Patient Safety Team/Committee and how they integrate with other relevant teams such as QI/PI, RCA, and FMEA teams.
The coordination of the development and periodic review and revision of patient safety policies and procedures is another role of the PSO.
The PSO also establishes and facilitates proactive risk assessments and risk reduction activities, and the changes necessary to improve patient safety throughout the organization.
Communication is a major responsibility for the PSO. The PSO must develop mechanisms for organization-wide communication and dissemination of patient safety information, including educational activities, to promote understanding of and commitment to patient safety practices.
The PSO promotes a computerized, non-punitive error reporting process throughout the organization and participates in the trend analysis, review, and investigation of identified patient safety issues as warranted.
The PSO also has the responsibility to review and facilitate the use of medical error information, including internal trend reports and external reporting programs and resources.
Other responsibilities of the Patient Safety Officer include but are not limited to the establishment and facilitation, appropriate response and investigation processes for adverse events, including front-line response, intervention with patient/family and support of involved staff, and root cause analysis.
The PSO works closely with Risk Manager and Quality Manager as the domains of all three frequently coincide with patient safety issues and concerns.
The Janet A. Brown, Healthcare Quality Handbook, 29th Edition