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Classics and Emerging Classics

To help our readers navigate the tremendous breadth of the PSNet Collection, AHRQ PSNet editors and advisors have given the designation of “Classic” to review articles, empirical studies, government and stakeholder reports, commentaries, and books of lasting importance to the patient safety field. These items have the potential to impact how providers approach care practice and are regularly referenced in the literature. More information on the selection process.

 

The “Emerging Classics” designation identifies those resources that may not have met the level of a “Classic” yet due to limited citation in the published literature or in the level of impact/contribution to the environment, but these are resources which our patient safety subject matter experts believe have the potential to drive change in the field.

Popular Classics

Huang SS, Septimus E, Kleinman K, et al. N Engl J Med. 2013;368.

Healthcare associated infection is a leading cause of preventable illness and death. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a virulent, multi-drug resistant infection increasingly seen across healthcare settings. This pragmatic,... Read More

All Classics and Emerging Classics (867)

Published Date
PSNet Publication Date
1 - 20 of 154 Results
Khan A, Spector ND, Baird JD, et al. BMJ. 2018;363:k4764.
Patient engagement in safety takes many forms: patients may report unique safety incidents, encourage adherence to best medical practice, and coproduce improvement initiatives. Family-centered rounding in pediatrics invites families to express concerns, clarify information, and provide real-time input to the health care team. This pre–post study explored the safety impact of family-centered rounds on 3106 admissions in pediatric units at 7 hospitals. Family-centered rounds reduced both preventable and nonpreventable adverse events. They also improved family experience without substantially lengthening rounding time. A past PSNet interview discussed the safety benefits of structured communication between health care providers and family members.
Nickel WK, Weinberger SE, Guze PA, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2018;169:796-799.
Patient and family engagement can enhance both individual safety and organizational improvement efforts. This position paper advocates for patients and families to be active partners in all aspects of their care, treated with respect and dignity, engaged in improving health care systems, and directly involved in education of health care professionals. The piece also provides strategies to employ these recommendations in the daily practice.
Sharma AE, Rivadeneira NA, Barr-Walker J, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1813-1820.
Patient and family engagement efforts can affect health care quality and safety. This review examined the research on patient engagement efforts and found evidence of robust examinations of patient engagement related to patient self-management of anticoagulation medications. However, there was mixed-quality evidence on patient involvement in medication administration errors, documentation and scheduling accuracy, hospital readmissions, and health care–associated infections. They recommend areas of research needed to guide the application of patient engagement strategies.
Howard R, Fry B, Gunaseelan V, et al. JAMA Surg. 2019;154:e184234.
This observational study found that when patients were prescribed a higher number of opioid pills following surgery, they self-administered more pills, although most patients did consume all of the pills they received. The authors suggest collecting patient-reported opioid consumption data in order to make opioid prescribing safer.
Mann S, Hollier LM, McKay K, et al. New Engl J Med. 2018;379:1689-1691.
Maternal morbidity has received increasing attention as a patient safety issue. This commentary recommends four strategies for improving obstetrics safety: focusing on prevention of complications, using multidisciplinary huddles to enhance communication, employing simulation as a teamwork training model, and developing partnerships between hospitals to ensure the best care is available.
Bates DW, Landman A, Levine DM. JAMA. 2018;320:1975-1976.
Mobile health care applications are increasingly being developed and marketed to patients for self-care and diagnosis, with little oversight as to their effectiveness or safety. This commentary outlines four key issues that must be addressed to improve the safety of medical applications.
Organizational Policy/Guidelines
Emerging Classic
Billstein-Leber M, Carrillo CJD, Cassano AT, et al. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2018;75:1493-1517.
Pharmacists can play an important role in medication error reduction efforts across health care systems. This document provides recommendations and best practices for health-system pharmacists to improve safety throughout the medication-use process.
Committee on Improving the Quality of Health Care Globally. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington DC: National Academies Press; August 2018. ISBN: 9780309483087.
The seminal 2001 report, Crossing the Quality Chasm, assessed deficiencies in the quality of health care in the United States across six key dimensions of care: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equity. Crossing the Global Quality Chasm examines the human toll of poor-quality care worldwide, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. The report documents health systems rife with quality and safety problems, estimating that 134 million adverse events (resulting in 2.5 million deaths) occur in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries yearly. High levels of both underuse and overuse of care are also documented in different settings. The authors give broad recommendations for strengthening health systems worldwide using the systems approach and principles of quality improvement. In addition, the report suggests modifying the original six dimensions of quality to include accessibility, affordability, and integrity.
Schnipper JL, Mixon A, Stein J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:954-964.
The goal of medication reconciliation is to prevent unintended medication discrepancies at times of transitions in care, which can lead to adverse events. Implementing effective medication reconciliation interventions has proven to be challenging. In this AHRQ-funded quality improvement study, five hospitals implemented a standardized approach to admission and discharge medication reconciliation using an evidence-based toolkit with longitudinal mentorship from the study investigators. The toolkit was implemented at each study site by a pharmacist and a hospitalist with support from local leadership. The intervention did not achieve overall reduction in potentially harmful medication discrepancies compared to baseline temporal trends. However, significant differences existed between the study sites, with sites that successfully implemented the recommended interventions being more likely to achieve reductions in harmful medication discrepancies. The study highlights the difficulty inherent in implementing quality improvement interventions in real-world settings. A WebM&M commentary discussed the importance of medication reconciliation and suggested best practices.
Gandhi TK, Kaplan GS, Leape L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:1019-1026.
Over the last decade, the Lucian Leape Institute has explored five key areas in health care to advance patient safety. These include medical education reform, care integration, patient and family engagement, transparency, and joy and meaning in work and workforce safety for health care professionals. This review highlights progress to date in each area and the challenges that remain to be addressed, including increasing clinician burnout and shortcomings of existing health information technology approaches. The authors also suggest opportunities for further research such as measuring the impact of residency training programs. In a past PSNet interview, Dr. Tejal Gandhi, president of the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute, discussed improving patient safety at a national level.
Stockwell DC, Landrigan CP, Toomey SL, et al. Pediatrics. 2018;142:e20173360.
This study used a trigger tool (the Global Assessment of Pediatric Patient Safety) to examine temporal trends in adverse event rates at 16 randomly selected children's hospitals. Adverse event rates did not significantly change at either teaching or nonteaching hospitals from 2007 to 2012. Interestingly, nonteaching hospitals had lower error rates than teaching facilities, although the increased complexity of patients at teaching hospitals may account for this finding. The results of this study mirror those of a similar study conducted in adult hospitals from 2002 to 2007. An accompanying editorial notes that quality improvement collaboratives have achieved reductions in hospital-acquired conditions at children's hospitals and speculates that these discordant findings could be due to the fact that trigger tools are able to detect a broader range of adverse events and thus may provide a more accurate picture of safety. A WebM&M commentary discussed a preventable medication error at a children's hospital.
Haffajee RL, Mello MM, Zhang F, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:964-974.
The opioid epidemic is a well-recognized national patient safety issue. High-risk opioid prescribing can contribute to misuse. Provider prescribing has come under increased scrutiny and several states have implemented prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Prior research suggests that such programs have the potential to reduce opioid-related harm. This study used commercial claims data to assess the impact of PDMPs implemented in four states in 2012–2013 on opioid prescribing. By the end of 2014, all four states with PDMPs demonstrated a greater reduction in the average amount of morphine-equivalents prescribed per person per quarter compared with states without these programs. One state demonstrated a decrease in the percentage of people who filled an opioid prescription. The authors conclude that PDMPs have the potential to reduce opioid use and improve prescribing practices. An Annual Perspective highlighted safety issues associated with opioid medications.
Armstrong N, Brewster L, Tarrant C, et al. Soc Sci Med. 2018;198:157-164.
Measuring patient safety is critical to improvement. This ethnographic study examined the implementation of a patient safety measurement program in the United Kingdom, the NHS Safety Thermometer, which measured incidence of pressure ulcers, harm from falls, catheter-associated urinary tract infection, and venous thromboembolism, with the goal of informing local improvement efforts. Investigators sought to examine how the measurement program was perceived by frontline staff. Despite the explicit emphasis on using the data for improvement, it was viewed as an external reporting requirement. The program was also viewed as a basis to compare organizations, especially because it included pay-for-performance incentives. The authors suggest that the intention of the program did not match the real-world considerations of participating health care systems and had the unintended consequence of creating potential for blame.
MacLean CH, Kerr EA, Qaseem A. N Engl J Med. 2018;378:1757-1761.
Measurement of quality and patient safety is challenging. In this commentary, the authors applied a five-domain criteria to rate the validity across 86 measures used to track ambulatory internal medicine performance and determined only 32 to be valid. They advocate for revising measurement to address performance gaps.
Shah T, Patel-Teague S, Kroupa L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;28:10-14.
Alert fatigue associated with electronic health records (EHRs) contributes to primary care physician burnout and can increase medication errors. The phenomenon is especially well-described in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, where providers receive more than 100 alerts per day, which require an average of 85 seconds to address. This study describes a nationwide VA initiative to reduce EHR alerts in primary care and teach providers to process alerts more efficiently. Alerts decreased by a small but significant amount—from an average of 128 per day to an average of 116 per day. Providers who received the most alerts before the initiative experienced the largest alert reduction. A PSNet perspective described a way forward in improving EHR safety.
Nix M, McNamara P, Genevro J, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:205-212.
Learning collaboratives are multimodal interventions that are often used to implement evidence-based practices. This perspective from AHRQ scientists proposes a taxonomy to describe collaboratives' distinct elements: innovation, or the type of positive change; communication among members; duration and sustainability; and social systems, or the organization and culture of the collaborative. The authors suggest that efforts to evaluate learning collaboratives or quality improvement interventions employ this taxonomy.
Darnall BD, Ziadni MS, Stieg RL, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178:707-708.
This prospective cohort study found that many outpatients treated at a chronic pain clinic were willing to voluntarily taper opioid medications. Although nearly 40% of patients dropped out of the study, those that remained significantly reduced their opioid dosing. The authors suggest that offering a voluntary gradual opioid taper to patients with chronic pain may reduce their opioid dose.
Sexton B, Adair KC, Leonard MW, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:261-270.
Achieving an optimal culture of safety is a central component of patient safety. Prior research supports that higher levels of employee engagement are correlated with improved perceptions of safety culture and that higher rates of burnout are associated with more negative perceptions of safety culture. Leadership WalkRounds has been touted as an intervention to improve safety culture, although the evidence for its efficacy has been mixed. In a more recent study, clinical units that received feedback from walkrounds had lower rates of burnout and more positive perceptions of safety culture. In this cross-sectional survey study, researchers analyzed the relationship between receiving feedback on the actions resulting from walkrounds and health care employees' perceptions of safety culture, engagement, burnout, and work–life balance across 829 settings. Work environments in which walkrounds were conducted with feedback had higher safety culture and employee engagement scores. A past PSNet interview and Annual Perspective discussed the relationship between burnout and patient safety.
Lyren A, Brilli RJ, Zieker K, et al. Pediatrics. 2017;140.
Improving patient safety often involves multifaceted interventions intended to change complex workflows. This prospective cohort study examined whether a collaborative improvement initiative across 33 pediatric hospitals could augment patient safety. Hospitals volunteered to be part of the collaborative and paid an annual fee to participate. All but one submitted their safety data for inclusion in the study. The intervention involved identification and dissemination of evidence-based practices to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and prevent serious adverse events. Each hospital implemented these best practices locally according to their preferences. The collaborative provided virtual and in-person training for patient safety processes, such as unit-based safety rounds, root cause analysis, and inclusion of patients and families on hospital committees. Rates of hospital-acquired conditions and serious adverse events declined over time during the 3-year study. Because there were no concurrent control hospitals, it is not clear whether these improvements can be attributed to the intervention. The authors conclude that participation in a learning collaborative can enhance patient safety.
Scott AM, Li J, Oyewole-Eletu S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017;43.
Fragmented care transitions may lead to adverse events due to poor provider communication, disjointed continuation of care, and incomplete patient follow-up. In this study, site visits were conducted at 22 healthcare organization across the United State to determine facilitators and barriers to implementing transitional care services. Identified facilitators included collaborating within and beyond the organization, tailoring care to patients and caregivers, and generating buy-in among staff. Barriers included poor integration of transitional care services, unmet patient or caregiver needs, underutilized services, and lack of physician buy-in. Results suggest how institutions may wish to prioritize strategies to facility effective care transitions.