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About PSNet

AHRQ Patient Safety Network (PSNet) is a national web-based resource featuring the latest news and essential resources on patient safety. The site offers weekly updates of patient safety literature, news, tools, and meetings ("Current Issue"), and a vast set of carefully annotated links to important research and other information on patient safety ("The Collection").

As of September 2015, AHRQ PSNet also hosts all previous AHRQ WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web) content, including Cases and Commentaries as well as Perspectives on Safety. We have combined the two sites to streamline the user experience, since all content relates to patient safety. AHRQ WebM&M content will continue to be published monthly and feature expert analysis of medical errors reported anonymously by our readers and interactive learning modules on patient safety ("Spotlight Cases"). CME and MOC credit are available.

Supported by a robust patient safety taxonomy and web architecture, AHRQ PSNet provides powerful searching and browsing capability, as well as the ability for diverse users to customize the site around their interests.

An Introduction to AHRQ PSNet

AHRQ WebM&M (Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web) was launched in February 2003. AHRQ WebM&M is dedicated to the memory of the late AHRQ Director, Dr. John Eisenberg, who originally envisioned it.

AHRQ PSNet was launched in April 2005. AHRQ PSNet is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Daniel Stryer, the Director of AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, who died at age 41 in May 2005.

AHRQ PSNet and AHRQ WebM&M are funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and edited by a team at the University of California, Davis, and American Institutes for Research (AIR), with the technical support of Pantheon. A Technical Expert Panel, comprised of experts in patient safety, health care quality, and clinical disciplines, guide the editorial team.

AHRQ PSNet Collection

The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams. Items are selected for inclusion on the site according to the following criteria:

  • They support a multidisciplinary, "systems" approach to minimizing errors in health care.
  • They come from a wide range of disciplines and sources, including clinical medicine, health care administration, engineering, general sciences, psychology, equipment and facility design, policy, law, and lay press.
  • They have been authored and/or sponsored by a credible source. The organization is an established entity and individuals have credentials that illustrate appropriate background.
  • They are of interest to the patient safety community at large, both expert and novice.
  • They are of value for gaining insight into and supporting patient safety.

AHRQ PSNet Classics and Emerging Classics Selection

To aid our readers in navigating through the tremendous breadth of literature, the AHRQ PSNet editors have selected a set of "Classics": review articles, empirical studies, reports, and books that have special relevance to our readers.

Although the selection of these "Classics" is subjective, and we welcome user input into the selection process, the editors, in conjunction with the Editorial Board, used the following criteria in making the selections:

  • The selection should be drawn from the peer-reviewed literature or from other reputable sources.
  • The selection should be regularly cited as a reference in other literature.
  • Theoretical pieces should articulate foundational concepts that help readers understand the methods and philosophies of patient safety.
  • Empirical studies should report results that materially advance the field of patient safety by creating new knowledge that influences the fundamental understanding of the field and/or results in significant changes in practice.
  • Review articles or books should present particularly eloquent or unique discussions of an issue (or issues) pertaining to patient safety.
  • Contributions by key figures (e.g., researchers, policymakers) in the patient safety field, if well executed, may be of particular impact, and thus are more likely to be included.

Selections may be designated as an “Emerging Classic”, which is a resource published within the previous 24 months on a topic of importance to the field of safety and holds promise for becoming a “Classic”.

Results Ranking in PSNet

Resources listed on AHRQ PSNet are sorted and displayed according to two specialized algorithms, one for "Topics" and one for "Search." These algorithms give display priority according to their relevance to the topic you have browsed or searched, and the importance of the resource as determined by our team of editors.

Browse the Collection

Four criteria determine how results are ranked when you browse AHRQ PSNet: (1) significance of the resource, as determined by the AHRQ PSNet editorial team, (2) relevance of the resource to the topic you are browsing, and (3) publication date, with more recent resources weighted higher. The combined score determines how results are displayed.


When you type a term into the Search function of AHRQ PSNet, the search algorithm searches resource titles, subject words, annotations, the author or publisher, and the full text of resources. The algorithm generates a score for each result based on where in the text a search term match is found. Matches to title words are given the highest score, followed by the annotations, subject categorization, and author or publisher. In the special case where your search term matches a topic in the PSNet categorization scheme (the taxonomy), you are taken directly to the page in the collection corresponding to that categorization.


AHRQ Patient Safety Network has links to other Federal agencies and Web sites. We also have selected links to other organizations, publications, and Web resources. The inclusion of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by HHS or AHRQ of the linked Web resources or the information, products, or services contained therein. The Agency does not exercise any control over the content on external sites. Once you visit another site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site. Read more about AHRQ’s Website Disclaimers.