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March 31, 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

Serou N, Sahota LM, Husband AK, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33(1).
High reliability organizations consistently examine and learn from failures. This systematic review identified several effective learning tools that can be adapted and used by multidisciplinary health care teams following a patient safety incident, including debriefing, simulation, crew resource management, and reporting systems. The authors concluded that these tools have a positive impact on learning if used soon after the incident but further research about successful implementation is needed.
Thompson R, Kusy M. Nurs Adm Q. 2021;45(2):135-141.
Effective leadership is essential to team performance and organizational safety. This article discusses the role of team leaders on team performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors review common mistakes made during the pandemic (such as broken trust or ignoring disruptive behaviors) and lessons learned to help build strong, cohesive teams.
Uong A, Philips K, Hametz P, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;Epub Mar 13.
Breakdowns in communication between clinicians and patients and their caregivers are common and can lead to adverse events. This article describes the development of the SAFER Care framework for written and verbal discharge counseling in pediatric units. The SAFER mnemonic reminds clinicians delivering discharge counseling to discuss safe return to school/daycare, activity restrictions, follow-up plans expected symptoms after discharge, when to return and seek care for symptoms, and who to contact with questions. Results from caregiver surveys indicate that the SAFER Care framework improved their comprehension of discharge instructions.

Famolaro T, Hare R, Yount ND, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2021. AHRQ Publications Nos. 21-0016(1.0) and 21-0017(2.0).  

Establishing culture of safety is an essential component to develop high reliability organizations and ensure patient safety. The AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture is a validated survey that examines organizational perceptions about safety culture ranging from communication about errors to teamwork within and across units. In 2019, AHRQ released a new version, the SOPS Hospital Survey 2.0. The 2021 SOPS Hospital 1.0 Database Report includes 320 hospitals and 191,977 respondents, and the 2.0 Database Report includes 172 hospitals and 87,856 respondents. In both reports, areas of strength included teamwork within units and leadership, and respondents reported concerns about handoffs and transitions. The 1.0 Database Report also noted concerns about leadership expectations and actions for promoting safety, and the 2.0 Database Report noted concerns about staffing and work pace.
Lane AS, Roberts C. BMJ Simul Technol Enhanc Learn. 2020;Epub Dec 3.
Open disclosure by healthcare providers is increasingly encouraged. This qualitative study characterized the experiences of medical students participating in a high-fidelity simulation session based on open disclosure after medication error. Findings reinforced the need for psychological safety, emotional arousal during learning, and both individual and collective reflective learning.
Zestcott CA, Spece L, McDermott D, et al. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021;8(1):230-236.
Implicit bias can contribute to poor decision-making and lead to poor patient outcomes. This qualitative study found that many healthcare providers have negative implicit attitudes about American Indians, such as implicitly stereotyping American Indians as noncompliant patients. The effect of these implicit attitudes and stereotypes was moderated by self-reported cultural competency and implicit bias training.
Albutt AK, Berzins K, Louch G, et al. nt J Ment Health Nurs. 2021;30(3):798-810.
The UK’s National Health System has faced gaps in mental health care delivery affecting patient safety. Interviews with 14 mental health professionals identified several factors associated with patient safety in mental health service settings including safety culture, communication systems, service user factors, service process, and staff workload. Interventions to improve patient safety in mental health settings should be developed with these factors in mind.
Haidari E, Main EK, Cui X, et al. J Perinatol. 2021;41(5):961-969.
High levels of healthcare worker (HCW) burnout may be associated with lower levels of patient safety and quality. In June 2020, three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, 288 maternity and neonatal HCWs were asked about their perspectives on well-being and patient safety. Two-thirds of respondents reported symptoms of burnout and only one-third reported adequate organizational support to meet these challenges. Organizations are encouraged to implement programs to reduce burnout and support HCW well-being.
Janes G, Harrison R, Johnson J, et al. J Eval Clin Pract. 2021;Epub Mar 6.
Many organizations have implemented interventions to support healthcare professionals after involvement with a medical error. Healthcare professionals who completed a proactive, resilience-based development program reported the program as useful in preparing them to cope with errors; however, they also recommend that a systems approach to increasing resiliency is needed alongside individual-level interventions.
Okpala P. Int J Healthc Manage. 2020;13(S1):199-205.
A just culture must balance organizational context with appropriate accountability after an error. The authors analyzed findings from 21 studies and found that blame culture negatively affects nurses’ willingness to report errors, leads to increased nurse turnover, and causes psychological stress and trauma among nurses. The authors suggest that medical errors and accidents be addressed from an organizational context with a commitment-based management approach. 
Rodrigo Rincón I, Irigoyen Aristorena I, Tirapu León B, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21:31.
Engaging patients and families is an essential part of identifying and preventing patient safety events. This study found that an educational intervention providing patients and families with the skills necessary to audit four safe practices (patient identification, hand hygiene, blood or chemotherapy identification, and related side effects) can provide healthcare organizations with valuable quality and safety information.
Uong A, Philips K, Hametz P, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;Epub Mar 13.
Breakdowns in communication between clinicians and patients and their caregivers are common and can lead to adverse events. This article describes the development of the SAFER Care framework for written and verbal discharge counseling in pediatric units. The SAFER mnemonic reminds clinicians delivering discharge counseling to discuss safe return to school/daycare, activity restrictions, follow-up plans expected symptoms after discharge, when to return and seek care for symptoms, and who to contact with questions. Results from caregiver surveys indicate that the SAFER Care framework improved their comprehension of discharge instructions.
Fröding E, Gäre BA, Westrin Å, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11(3):e044068.
In Sweden, patient suicide following contact with a healthcare provider is regarded a potential case of patient harm and must be investigated and reported to the Swedish supervisory authority. This retrospective study analyzed reported cases across three timeframes and concluded the investigations were largely suited to fit the requirements of the supervisory authority rather than an opportunity for organizational learning to advance patient safety. A 2019 PSNet Spotlight Case highlights systems issues that contributed to a patient’s suicide following discharge from the Emergency Department.    
Zheng Y, Jiang Y, Dorsch MP, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;30(4):311-319.
Clinicians commonly use free-text to generate electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions); however, these e-prescriptions often require double-checking and transcription by pharmacist staff to avoid potential medication errors. This retrospective study found that about half of the patient directions on e-prescriptions contained at least one quality issue (e.g., dose, frequency of administration) and that pharmacy staff spend significant time and effort identifying and correcting these issues.
Thompson R, Kusy M. Nurs Adm Q. 2021;45(2):135-141.
Effective leadership is essential to team performance and organizational safety. This article discusses the role of team leaders on team performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors review common mistakes made during the pandemic (such as broken trust or ignoring disruptive behaviors) and lessons learned to help build strong, cohesive teams.
Whelehan DF, Algeo N, Brown DA. BMJ Leader. 2021;Epub Feb 22.
Healthcare workers are facing occupational fatigue stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., burnout, stress) as well as fatigue related to ongoing symptoms of the virus (“long COVID”). This article discusses preventive and proactive leadership strategies to address both types of fatigue, including screening for fatigue, providing reasonable accommodations for healthcare workers struggling with fatigue, stress mediation, and establishing organizational culture supporting sleep and rest.
Hamed MMM, Konstantinidis S. West J Nurs Res. 2021;Epub Mar 17.
Incident reporting plays an essential role in identifying patient safety threats. This study aggregated findings from qualitative studies to identify barriers to incident reporting among nurses. Fear of negative consequences was the most common barrier; other barriers included inadequate reporting systems, lack of interdisciplinary and interdepartmental cooperation, lack of necessary training, and blame culture.
Serou N, Sahota LM, Husband AK, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33(1).
High reliability organizations consistently examine and learn from failures. This systematic review identified several effective learning tools that can be adapted and used by multidisciplinary health care teams following a patient safety incident, including debriefing, simulation, crew resource management, and reporting systems. The authors concluded that these tools have a positive impact on learning if used soon after the incident but further research about successful implementation is needed.
Bates DW, Levine DM, Syrowatka A, et al. NPJ Digit Med. 2021;4(1):54.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used across healthcare settings to address a variety of patient safety targets. This scoping review evaluated the potential of AI to improve patient safety across eight domains including adverse drug events, decompensation, and diagnostic errors. Both traditional (e.g. EHR) and novel (e.g. wearables) data sources can be used to develop models and interventions to improve patient safety.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2021.

Misdiagnosis of severe cardiovascular events is a primary concern to the diagnostic safety community due to its prevalence and potential for harm. This report summarizes a session discussion on the existing evidence base on improving diagnosis for these conditions and explore opportunities for improvement.

Fed Register. 2021;86(51):14752-14753.

The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 created a framework that supports efforts to improve patient safety and reduce the incidence of adverse events. It also requires the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, to prepare a draft report on effective strategies for improving patient safety and encouraging the use of effective improvement strategies. The deadline for public comment on the draft report has now passed.

Carr S. ImproveDx. March 2021:8(2) 

Effective diagnosis is enhanced through multidisciplinary team-based efforts. This newsletter article outlines opportunities inherent in expanding the role of nursing in the diagnostic process. It highlights barriers to collaboration and suggests interprofessional training as one avenue toward improvement.

Famolaro T, Hare R, Yount ND, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2021. AHRQ Publications Nos. 21-0016(1.0) and 21-0017(2.0).  

Establishing culture of safety is an essential component to develop high reliability organizations and ensure patient safety. The AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture is a validated survey that examines organizational perceptions about safety culture ranging from communication about errors to teamwork within and across units. In 2019, AHRQ released a new version, the SOPS Hospital Survey 2.0. The 2021 SOPS Hospital 1.0 Database Report includes 320 hospitals and 191,977 respondents, and the 2.0 Database Report includes 172 hospitals and 87,856 respondents. In both reports, areas of strength included teamwork within units and leadership, and respondents reported concerns about handoffs and transitions. The 1.0 Database Report also noted concerns about leadership expectations and actions for promoting safety, and the 2.0 Database Report noted concerns about staffing and work pace.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Verna Gibbs, MD |
Two separate patients undergoing urogynecologic procedures were discharged from the hospital with vaginal packing unintentionally left in the vagina. Both cases are representative of the challenges of identifying and preventing retained orifice packing, the critical role of clear handoff communication, and the need for organizational cultures which encourage health care providers to communicate and collaborate with each other to optimize patient safety.
WebM&M Cases
Deborah Plante, MD, and Andrea Gonzalez Falero, MD |
A 24-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes presented to the emergency department with worsening abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Her last dose of insulin was one day prior to presentation. She stopped taking insulin because she was not tolerating any oral intake. The admitting team managed her diabetes with subcutaneous insulin but thought the patient did not meet criteria for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), but after three inpatient days with persistent hyperglycemia, blurred vision, and altered mental status, a consulting endocrinologist diagnosed DKA. The patient was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and an insulin drip was started, after which the patient’s metabolic derangements normalized and her symptoms resolved. The commentary discusses the importance of educating patients and providers on risk factors for DKA and symptoms in type 1 diabetics, the use of a stepwise approach to diagnosing acid-based disorders, clinical decision support tools to guide physiologic insulin replacement, and the role of closed-loop communication to decrease medical error.
WebM&M Cases
Stephen A. Martin, MD, EdM, Gordon D. Schiff, MD, and Sanjat Kanjilal, MD, MPH |
A pregnant patient was admitted for scheduled Cesarean delivery, before being tested according to a universal inpatient screening protocol for SARS-CoV-2. During surgery, the patient developed a fever and required oxygen supplementation. Due to suspicion for COVID-19, a specimen obtained via nasopharyngeal swab was sent to a commercial laboratory for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing. However, due to delays in receiving those results, another sample was tested two days later with a newly developed in-house test, and a third sample was sent to the state public health laboratory. The in-house test returned as positive for SARS-CoV-2. The patient was discharged in stable clinical condition but was advised to quarantine for 14 days. Two days after the patient’s discharge, the commercial and state lab tests were both reported as negative. A root-cause analysis subsequently determined that the positive test run on the in-house platform was due to cross-contamination from a neighboring positive sample. The commentary discusses the challenges associated with SARS-CoV-2 testing, the unprecedented burden faced by health systems, and downstream consequences of false positive tests.

This Month’s Perspectives

Jose Morfin Headshot
Interview
José A, Morfín, MD, FASN, is a health sciences clinical professor at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. In his professional role, he serves as the Medical Director for Satellite Health Care and as a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Nx Stage Medical. We discussed with him home dialysis and patient safety considerations.
Perspectives on Safety
This piece discusses how the program mitigates safety risks for in-home dialysis and the potential for in-home programs to greatly expand.
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