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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)

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Joseph A, Bayramzadeh S, Zamani Z, et al. HERD. 2018;11:137-150.
Elements of the work environment can affect the safety of health care delivery. This literature review summarizes research to inform architectural and interior design improvements for operating rooms that support safety. The discussion highlights environmental themes associated with layout, acoustics, and lighting that can affect teamwork, processes, and communication in the operating room.
Clark BW, Derakhshan A, Desai S. Med Clin North Am. 2018;102:453-464.
Diagnostic errors have garnered increasing attention as a contributor to patient harm. This review explores reasons for underrecognition of diagnostic errors, including cognitive biases and large-scale system weaknesses. The authors suggest emphasis on education to enhance clinical knowledge, physical examination practice, and medical history-taking skills to improve diagnosis.
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.
Krein SL, Mayer J, Harrod M, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178:1016-1057.
Infection control precautions including use of personal protective equipment (PPE) are critical for preventing transmission of infections within health care settings. This direct observation study observed frequent failures in use of PPE, including entering rooms without using PPE at all, PPE process mistakes, and slips in properly executing PPE use. The authors suggest that given the wide range of failures, a variety of strategies are needed to improve use of PPE.
Fiscella K, McDaniel SH. Amer Psychol. 2018;73:451-467.
Teamwork is an important element of safe care delivery. This review explores the evidence on the role of teams in ambulatory care, innovations in primary care teamwork models, and barriers to success. The authors offer recommendations to encourage team development in primary care, including defining team competencies, providing team training opportunities specific to ambulatory care, and adjusting care payment mechanisms.
Shafi S, Collinsworth AW, Copeland LA, et al. JAMA Surg. 2018;153:757-763.
Opioids are known to be high-risk medications. This secondary data analysis of more than 100,000 patients undergoing in-hospital surgical procedures at 21 hospitals found that about 10% experienced an opioid-related adverse drug event during their admission. Patients receiving higher dose and longer duration of opioids were more likely to experience adverse events. Patients who experienced an opioid-related adverse drug event had longer hospital stays, greater inpatient mortality risk, and a higher rate of readmissions compared to those who did not experience problems with opioid medications. The authors call for reducing opioid use in acute care, postoperative settings in order to improve patient safety. A previous WebM&M commentary emphasized the importance of stratifying risk for patients initiated or maintained on chronic opioid therapy to prevent misuse.
Bajaj K, Minors A, Walker K, et al. Simul Healthc. 2018;13:221-224.
Frontline simulations offer valuable opportunities to explore system issues, process weaknesses, and teamwork skills. This article discusses risks associated with in situ simulations and describes how to determine when simulations should be canceled, postponed, or relocated to ensure safety.
Patel P, Martimianakis MA, Zilbert NR, et al. Acad Med. 2018;93:769-774.
Semi-structured interviews of 15 surgical residents revealed that surgical trainees may feel pressured to exhibit certain characteristics they perceive as consistent with the ideal surgical personality. The authors suggest that trainee education should acknowledge the impact of the sociocultural context of the surgical environment on trainees.
Kristensen RU, Nørgaard A, Jensen-Dahm C, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;63:383-394.
Prior research has shown that polypharmacy in elderly patients with dementia is associated with a greater risk of functional decline. This cross-sectional study of Danish patients age 65 and older found that polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication use were common in this population and were more frequent among patients with dementia.
Braithwaite J. BMJ. 2018;361:k2014.
In learning organizations, leadership behavior creates a supportive learning environment where concrete processes are in place to facilitate learning and encourage creativity among employees. Published in a series of quality improvement articles, this commentary suggests that a commitment to systems thinking and innovation is needed to achieve progress. Elements of a changed approach include a reduced focus on rules and policies and an enhanced effort to consider system interactions.
Wakeman D, Langham MR. Semin Pediatr Surg. 2018;27:107-113.
Crew resource management is a strategy from aviation that has been applied in medicine to enhance teamwork. This review discusses crew resource management as a way to improve communication, establish a safety culture, and reduce morbidity and mortality in the operating room.
Lyons I, Furniss D, Blandford A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:892-901.
Errors and discrepancies in intravenous infusions were common in this study performed at two English hospitals, but only a small proportion of errors led to patient harm. The use of smart pumps did not appear to protect against errors.
Finn KM, Metlay JP, Chang Y, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178:952-959.
Over the past decade, with the goal of improving both the educational experience and patient safety, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has introduced regulations restricting resident duty hours and requiring graded supervision by faculty physicians. While many studies have evaluated how duty hour restrictions influence safety outcomes, the impact of different supervisory strategies has been less studied. Conducted on an internal medicine teaching service, this randomized controlled trial examined the effect of two supervisory strategies on patient safety and the educational experience for housestaff. Increased direct supervision (faculty physician physically present for duration of morning rounds, including patient care discussions and encounters with newly admitted and existing patients) was compared to standard supervision (faculty directly supervised residents only for new admissions, meeting later in the day to discuss existing patients). The study used a rigorous, previously developed methodology to track adverse event rates and found no significant difference in safety outcomes between the two groups. Residents perceived that greater supervision led to decreased autonomy in decision-making. Although the study evaluated only direct, in-person supervision, its findings demonstrate that—like reducing duty hours—increasing direct supervision of trainees does not necessarily translate to improving patient safety. The relationship between clinical supervision, education, and patient safety is discussed in a PSNet perspective.
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.
Mongkhon P, Ashcroft DM, Scholfield N, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:902-914.
This meta-analysis sought to identify the prevalence of hospital admissions attributed to nonadherence to medications. There was significant heterogeneity among the included studies. Researchers found that about 1% to 10% of hospital admissions are due to nonadherence to medications in the outpatient setting and are therefore preventable.
Eriksson J, Gellerstedt L, Hillerås P, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2018;27:e1061-e1067.
Overcrowding in the emergency department can compromise patient safety. This qualitative study across five emergency departments found that nurses perceive prolonged stays in the emergency department to adversely affect both patient safety and their ability to provide high-quality care.
Ladapo JA, Larochelle MR, Chen A, et al. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75:623-630.
Patients prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines concurrently may be at increased risk for adverse drug events. Researchers used data from both the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to identify adults already using a benzodiazepine who were newly prescribed opioid medication between 2005 and 2015. Rates of opioid prescribing among patients using a benzodiazepine remained higher than rates in the general population during the entire study period.
Williford ML, Scarlet S, Meyers MO, et al. JAMA Surg. 2018;153:705-711.
Physician burnout is widespread and may adversely affect patient safety. This cross-sectional survey study of surgery residents and attendings across 6 general surgery training programs found that 75% of residents met criteria for burnout and more than one-third met criteria for depression. The majority of attendings underestimated the prevalence of both burnout and depression among surgical trainees participating in the study.
Edwards MT. Am J Med Qual. 2018;33:502-508.
Just culture is a movement to shift from blame for errors and instead focus on system issues in order to enhance event reporting and learning from failures. This study examined a survey about just culture in conjunction with Hospital Compare quality ratings and AHRQ's Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. The vast majority of the 270 hospitals that responded to the survey reported adopting just culture. However, respondents reported no improvement in nonpunitive response to error, indicating that a culture of blame persists. The study also found no association between hospital quality ratings and just culture implementation. The author concludes that just culture is not sufficient to create a blame-free culture in hospitals. An Annual Perspective reviewed the context of the no-blame movement and the recent shift toward a framework of a just culture.
Alidina S, Goldhaber-Fiebert SN, Hannenberg AA, et al. Implement Sci. 2018;13:50.
Checklists have been shown to improve surgical outcomes in clinical trials, but their effectiveness in real-world settings is variable. This implementation study examined factors related to checklist use in the operating room for crises rather than routine practice. Investigators surveyed individuals who downloaded a checklist from two websites about whether they used a checklist regularly in specific clinical situations. Thorough checklist implementation, leadership support, and dedicated staff training time led to more regular use of the checklist. Conversely, frontline resistance and lack of clinical champions undermined checklist use. The authors conclude that optimizing organizational conditions should increase the use of checklists during crises in operating rooms. Past PSNet interviews with Lucian Leape and David Urbach discussed their perspectives on surgical safety checklists.