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AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network (PSNet) features a collection of the latest news and resources on patient safety, innovations and toolkits, opportunities for free CME and trainings. The platform provides powerful searching and browsing capability, as well as the ability for users to customize the site around their interests (My Profile).

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What is Patient Safety?

The breadth of the field of patient safety is captured in various definitions. It has been defined as avoiding harm to patients from care that is intended to help them.1 It involves the prevention and mitigation of harm caused by errors of omission or commission in healthcare, and the establishment of operational systems and processes that minimize the likelihood of errors and maximize the likelihood of intercepting them when they occur.2

A nurse and her patient, a person washing their hands over a sink, and 2 medical professionals looking at a tablet.

The PSNet Collection

May 25, 2022 Weekly Issue

PSNet highlights the latest patient safety literature, news, and expert commentary, including Weekly Updates, WebM&M, and Perspectives on Safety.

Book/Report

Grimm CA. Washington DC: Office of the Inspector General; May 2022. Report no. OEI-06-18-00400.

In its 2010 report, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found 13.5% of hospitalized Medicare patients experience harm in October 2008. This OIG report has updated the proportion of hospitalized Medicare patients who experienced harm and the resulting costs in October of 2018. Researchers found 12% of patients experienced adverse events, and an additional 13% experienced temporary harm. Reviewers determined 43% of harm events could have been prevented and resulted in significant costs to Medicare and patients.
Book/Report

National Steering Committee for Patient Safety. Boston, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; May 2022.

Leadership commitment is crucial to attaining sustainable improvement in patient safety. This “Declaration to Advance Patient Safety” call-to-action shares three steps to motivate work toward implementing change to enhance safe care. First, commit to a national plan for improvement. Second, identify and empower a senior leader and team to assess an organization’s existent safety status. Third, devise plans to measure, design, implement, and support adverse event reduction initiatives.
Review
Giardina TD, Hunte H, Hill MA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Apr 27.
The 2015 National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare defined diagnostic error as “the failure to (a) establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient's health problem(s) or (b) communicate that explanation to the patient.” This review and interviews with subject matter experts explored how the NASEM definition of diagnostic error has been operationalized in the literature. Of the sixteen included studies, only five operationalized the definition and only three studied communicating with the patient. The authors recommend formulating a set of common approaches to operationalize each of the three components of the NASEM definition. Patients and family should be included in defining the construct of “communication to the patient.”
Study
Weaver MD, Landrigan CP, Sullivan JP, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub May 10.
In 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) introduced a 16-hour shift limit for first-year residents. Recent studies found that these duty hour requirements did not yield significant differences in patient outcomes and the ACGME eliminated the shift limit for first-year residents in 2017. To assess the impact of work-hour limits on medical errors, this study prospectively followed two cohorts of resident physicians matched into US residency programs before (2002-2007) and after (2014-2016) the introduction of the work-hour limits. After adjustment for potential confounders, the work-hour limit was associated with decreased risk of resident-reported significant medical errors (32% risk reduction), reported preventable adverse events (34% risk reduction), and reported medical errors resulting in patient death (63% risk reduction).
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Training and Education

Update Date: May 16, 2022

WebM&M Case Studies & Spotlight Cases

WebM&M (Morbidity & Mortality Rounds on the Web) features expert analysis of medical errors reported anonymously by our readers. Spotlight Cases include interactive learning modules available for CME. Commentaries are written by patient safety experts and published monthly. Contribute by Submitting a Case anonymously.

Garima Agrawal, MD, MPH, and Mithu Molla, MD, MBA | May 16, 2022

This WebM&M describes two cases involving patients who became unresponsive in unconventional locations – inside of a computed tomography (CT) scanner and at an outpatient transplant clinic – and strategies to ensure that all healthcare teams are... Read More

Alexandria DePew, MSN, RN, James Rice, & Julie Chou, BSN | May 16, 2022

This WebM&M describes two incidences of the incorrect patient being transported from the Emergency Department (ED) to other parts of the hospital for tests or procedures. In one case, the wrong patient was identified before undergoing an... Read More

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