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February 17, 2021 Weekly Issue

PSNet highlights the latest patient safety literature, news, and expert commentary, including Weekly Updates, WebM&M, and Perspectives on Safety. The current issue highlights what's new this week in patient safety literature, news, conferences, reports, and more. Past issues of the PSNet Weekly Update are available to browse. WebM&M presents current and past monthly issues of Cases & Commentaries and Perspectives on Safety.

This Week’s Featured Articles

Azam I, Gray D, Bonnett D et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; February 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 21-0012.
The National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports review analysis specific to tracking patient safety challenges and improvements across ambulatory, home health, hospital, and nursing home environments. The most recent update documented improvements in approximately half of the patient safety measures tracked. This set of tools includes summaries drawn from the reports for use in presentations to enhance distribution and application of the data.
Ginestra JC, Atkins JH, Mikkelsen ME, et al. NEJM Catalyst. 2020;2(1).
Health systems are rapidly adjusting and adapting processes to successfully respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Pennsylvania Health System developed the I-READI (integration, root cause analysis, evidence review, adaptation, dissemination, and implementation) conceptual framework to assist hospitals in preparing for and responding to patient safety challenges during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The I-READI approach can streamline communication, enrich collaboration, and coordinate rapid change through the use of daily safety huddles, root cause analysis, and technology (e.g., ICU telemedicine and real-time ICU dashboards).
Hensgens RL, El Moumni M, IJpma FFA, et al. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2020;46(6):1367-1374.
Missed injuries and delayed diagnoses are an ongoing problem in trauma care. This cohort study conducted at a large trauma center found that inter-hospital transfer of severely injured patients increases the risk of delayed detection of injuries. For half of these patients, the new diagnoses led to a change in treatment course. These findings highlight the importance of clinician vigilance when assessing trauma patients.
Hodkinson A, Tyler N, Ashcroft DM, et al. BMC Med. 2020;18(1):313.
Medication errors represent a significant source of preventable harm. This large meta-analysis, including 81 studies, found that approximately 1 in 30 patients is exposed to preventable medication harm, and more than one-quarter of this harm is considered severe or life-threatening. Preventable medication harm occurred most frequently during medication prescribing and monitoring. The highest rates of preventable medication harm were seen in elderly patient care settings, intensive care, highly specialized or surgical care, and emergency medicine.
Calcaterra SL, Lou Y, Everhart RM, et al. J Gen Intern Care. 2021;36(1):43-50.
Opioid use is an ongoing patient safety concern. This large retrospective cohort study found that patients who received oral or intravenous opioids during an urgent care visit were more likely to receive opioids at discharge, and progress to chronic opioid use
Hensgens RL, El Moumni M, IJpma FFA, et al. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2020;46(6):1367-1374.
Missed injuries and delayed diagnoses are an ongoing problem in trauma care. This cohort study conducted at a large trauma center found that inter-hospital transfer of severely injured patients increases the risk of delayed detection of injuries. For half of these patients, the new diagnoses led to a change in treatment course. These findings highlight the importance of clinician vigilance when assessing trauma patients.

Odor PM, Bampoe S, Lucas DN, et al the Pan-London Peri-operative Audit and Research Network (PLAN), for the DREAMY Investigators Group. Anaesthesia. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Accidental patient awareness during anesthesia can result in significant patient distress and harm. This prospective cohort study, including 3,115 patients, identified high rates of accidental awareness during general anesthesia for obstetric surgery. In some patients, accidental awareness resulted in distressing experiences, paralysis, or a provisional diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Zhou Y, Walter FM, Singh H, et al. Cancers. 2021;13(1):156.
Delays in cancer diagnosis can lead to treatment delays and patient harm. This study linking primary care and cancer registry data found that more than one-quarter of bladder and kidney cancer patients presenting with fast-tract referral features did not achieve a timely diagnosis. These findings suggest inadequate adherence to guidelines intended to help identify patients with high risk of cancer based on the presence of alarm signs and symptoms.
Shah SN, Amato MG, Garlo KG, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28(6):1081-1087.
Clinical decision support (CDS) alerts can improve patient safety, and prior research suggests that monitoring alert overrides can identify errors. Over a one-year period, this study found that medication-related CDS alerts associated with renal insufficiency were nearly always deemed inappropriate and were all overridden. These findings highlight the need for improvements in alert design, implementation, and monitoring of alert performance to ensure alerts are patient-specific and clinically appropriate.  
De Brún A, Anjara S, Cunningham U, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(22):8673.
Leadership has an important role in promoting a culture of safety and enabling necessary changes to enhance patient safety. This article summarizes the design, pilot testing, and refinement of the Collective Leadership for Safety Culture (Co-Lead) program, which offers a systematic approach to developing collective leadership behaviors to promote effective teamwork and enhance safety culture.
Tzeng H-M, Jansen LS, Okpalauwaekwe U, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2021;36(4):327-332.
Patient falls are an ongoing patient safety concern, yet mitigating falls among inpatients remains challenging. This article describes one nursing home’s experience adapting the Fall TIPS program for use in their patient population. The program, which emphasizes tailored fall-prevention and patient-family engagement, resulted in a decrease in the rate of falls and injuries.
Gleason KT, Harkless G, Stanley J, et al. Nurs Outlook. 2021;69(3):362-369.
To reduce diagnostic errors, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) recommends increasing nursing engagement in the diagnostic process. This article reviews the current state of diagnostic education in nursing training and suggests inter-professional individual and team-based competencies to improve diagnostic safety.
Ginestra JC, Atkins JH, Mikkelsen ME, et al. NEJM Catalyst. 2020;2(1).
Health systems are rapidly adjusting and adapting processes to successfully respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Pennsylvania Health System developed the I-READI (integration, root cause analysis, evidence review, adaptation, dissemination, and implementation) conceptual framework to assist hospitals in preparing for and responding to patient safety challenges during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The I-READI approach can streamline communication, enrich collaboration, and coordinate rapid change through the use of daily safety huddles, root cause analysis, and technology (e.g., ICU telemedicine and real-time ICU dashboards).
Giap T-T-T, Park M. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(2):131-140.
Patients and families are essential partners in identifying and preventing patient safety events. This meta-analysis found that patient and family involvement interventions can significantly reduce adverse events, decrease hospital length of stay, increase patient safety experiences, and improve patient satisfaction.
Fransen AF, van de Ven J, Banga FR, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;12:Cd011545.
Teamwork training simulation programs can improve communication and safety culture in obstetric teams. This systematic review found that simulation-based obstetric team training can improve team performance and may improve some maternal and perinatal outcomes. The authors note that future research should attempt to limit bias, improve precision, and pay attention to effect measurement at the patient outcome level.
Hodkinson A, Tyler N, Ashcroft DM, et al. BMC Med. 2020;18(1):313.
Medication errors represent a significant source of preventable harm. This large meta-analysis, including 81 studies, found that approximately 1 in 30 patients is exposed to preventable medication harm, and more than one-quarter of this harm is considered severe or life-threatening. Preventable medication harm occurred most frequently during medication prescribing and monitoring. The highest rates of preventable medication harm were seen in elderly patient care settings, intensive care, highly specialized or surgical care, and emergency medicine.
O’Neill SM, Clyne B, Bell M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2021;21(1):15.
Early warning systems (EWS) can aid in early detection of clinical deterioration and assist rapid response teams (RRTs). In this qualitative synthesis, the authors identified barriers and facilitators to the escalation of care according to early warning system protocols. The overarching themes involved governance (e.g., standardization, resources), RRT behaviors, professional boundaries, clinical experience, and EWS parameters.
No results.

MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; February 3. 2021. 
 

Recalls of medical products due to labeling errors are an established proactive safety strategy. This announcement highlights an anticoagulant packaging mistake that could result in dosing errors.

Mangus CW, Singh H, Mahajan P. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; February 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 20(21)-0040-4-EF.

Health information technology (Health IT) presents opportunities to engage patients and families in decision making. This issue brief highlights health IT tools that can close this communication gap to engage patients in diagnosis in the emergency room. This brief is part of a publication series examining diagnostic improvement across health care.
Azam I, Gray D, Bonnett D et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; February 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 21-0012.
The National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports review analysis specific to tracking patient safety challenges and improvements across ambulatory, home health, hospital, and nursing home environments. The most recent update documented improvements in approximately half of the patient safety measures tracked. This set of tools includes summaries drawn from the reports for use in presentations to enhance distribution and application of the data.

Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety. Plymouth Meeting, PA: ECRI Institute; 2021.

Effective integration of health information systems supports decision making and treatment coordination across practice settings. This report examines how gaps in information sharing can affect behavioral health care. The authors discuss the potential for diagnostic improvement through information system connections between primary care and behavioral health programs.

Quick Safety. February 2021;57:1-3.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted systemic issues in health care systems, facilities, and processes. This article highlights weaknesses in health processes contributing to inequities and disparities affecting racial and ethnic groups. It suggests actions that organizations should take to improve the safety and effectiveness of care for all.

Silver Spring, MD: Division of Industry and Consumer Education, US Food and Drug Administration; February 9. 2021.

Lack of access to ventilators during the COVID-19 crisis has necessitated care compromises to support multiple patients. This situation can reduce the effectiveness of monitoring patients on shared devices and introduce other challenges. This communication provides insights to enhance the safety of multiple-patient ventilator use.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
David Barnes, MD and William Ken McCallum, MD |
A 56-year-old women with a history of persistent asthma presented to the emergency department (ED) with shortness of breath and chest tightness that was relieved with Albuterol. She was admitted to the hospital for acute asthma exacerbation. Given a recent history of mobility limitations and continued clinical decompensation, a computed tomography (CT) angiogram of the chest was obtained to rule out pulmonary embolism (PE).  The radiologist summarized his initial impression by telephone to the primary team but the critical finding (“profound evidence of right heart strain") was not conveyed to the primary team. The written radiology impression was not reviewed, nor did the care team independently review the CT images. The team considered her to be low-risk and initiated therapy with a direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC). Later that day, the patient became hemodynamically unstable and was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). She developed signs of stroke and required ongoing resuscitation overnight before being transitioned to comfort care and died. This commentary discusses the importance of avoiding anchoring bias, effective communication between care team members, and reviewing all available test results to avoid diagnostic errors.
WebM&M Cases
Voltaire R Sinigayan, MD, FACP |
A 55-year-old man undergoing chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia was admitted to the hospital with a fever, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia but physical examination did not reveal a focal site of infection. Blood and urine cultures were obtained, and he was started on IV antibiotics. His fever persisted and the cross-covering physician, following sign-out instructions from the primary team, requested repeat blood cultures but did not evaluate the patient in person. During rounds the next morning, the patient reported new oral pain (which had begun the previous day) and on physical exam was found to have mucositis. The associated commentary discusses the importance of in-person assessment in the hospital setting during cross-coverage and the value of structured, validated hand-off tools for communication among multidisciplinary teams.
WebM&M Cases
Christian Bohringer, MD |
A man with a history of previous airway operations was admitted for a rigid direct laryngoscopy. The consulting physician anesthesiologist prescribed a resident to administer ketamine to the patient as part of the general anesthesia protocol. The resident unintentionally located two vials of 100mg/mL ketamine (instead of the intended 10mg/mL vials that are used routinely) and erroneously administered 950mg of ketamine (instead of the intended 95mg). The dosing error resulted in delayed emergence from anesthesia and an unnecessary transfer to the intensive care unit for ventilation and monitoring, but was discharged home the following day. The commentary discusses the challenges of medication administration, the role of double-checking, and the importance of trainee supervision.
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