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June 30, 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

Cheraghi-Sohi S, Holland F, Singh H, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;Epub Jun 14.
Diagnostic error continues to be a source of preventable patient harm. The authors undertook a retrospective review of primary care consultations to identify incidence, origin and avoidable harm of missed diagnostic opportunities (MDO). Nearly three-quarters of MDO involved multiple process breakdowns (e.g., history taking, misinterpretation of diagnostic tests, or lack of follow up). Just over one third resulted in moderate to severe avoidable patient harm. Because the majority of MDO involve several contributing factors, interventions, including policy changes, should be multipronged.
Evans S, Green A, Roberson A, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:151-156.
A lack of situational awareness can lead to delayed recognition of patient deterioration. This children’s hospital developed and implemented a situational awareness framework designed to decrease emergency transfers to the intensive care unit (ICU). The framework included both objective and subjective criteria. By identifying patients at increased risk of clinical deterioration (“watcher status”) and use of the framework, recognition of deterioration occurred sooner and resulted in fewer emergency transfers to the ICU.
Guo W, Li Y, Temkin-Greener H. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;Epub May 25.
This study examined the association between patient safety culture (PSC) and community discharge of long-term care (LTC) residents.  Results show that two domains of PSC- teamwork and supervisor expectations and actions regarding patient safety- are significantly associated with increased likelihood of discharge to a community setting. Focusing on these domains to improve patient safety culture may also increase community discharge rates. 
Oberlander T, Scholle SH, Marsteller JA, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2021;Epub Jun 13.
The goal of the patient centered medical home (PCMH)  model is to reorganize primary care to provide team-based, coordinated, accessible health care. This study used a consensus process with input from a physician panel to examine ambulatory patient safety concerns (e.g., medication safety, diagnostic error, treatment delays, communication or coordination errors) in the context of the PCMH model and explore variability in the implementation of patient safety practices.
Worsham CM, Woo J, Jena AB, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(6):970-978.
Adolescent patients transitioning from pediatric to adult medicine may experience patient safety risks. Using a large commercial insurance claims database, the authors compared opioid prescribing patterns and risk for opioid-related adverse events (overdose, opioid use disorder, or long-term use) among adolescents transitioning from “child” to “adult” at 18 years of age. The authors estimate a 14% increased risk for an opioid-related adverse outcome within one year when “adults” just over age 18 years were prescribed opioids that would not have been prescribed if they were under 18 years and considered “children.” The authors discuss how systematic differences in how pediatric and adult patients may be treated can lead to differences in opioid prescribing.
Green AR, Aschmann H, Boyd CM, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(4):e212633.
Effective communication between patient and provider is key to successful deprescribing.  Participants in this study were asked to rate potential phrases a clinician may use to explain why stopping or reducing a medication is important. The most preferred phrase involved an explanation of risk of side effects associated with the medications while the least preferred options focused on the effort involved in taking the medication and “this medication is unlikely to help you function better”. Understanding the patient’s priorities can help frame the conversation around deprescribing.
Jones AM, Clark JS, Mohammad RA. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;78(9):818-824.
Burnout has been a focus of numerous studies since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this is the first to focus on burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS) among health system pharmacists. Nearly two thirds (65.3%) of respondents had a moderate to high likelihood of experiencing burnout and 51% had a high probability of STS. Due to the association between burnout and decreased patient safety, it is critical that health systems address pharmacist burnout appropriately.
Guo W, Li Y, Temkin-Greener H. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;Epub May 25.
This study examined the association between patient safety culture (PSC) and community discharge of long-term care (LTC) residents.  Results show that two domains of PSC- teamwork and supervisor expectations and actions regarding patient safety- are significantly associated with increased likelihood of discharge to a community setting. Focusing on these domains to improve patient safety culture may also increase community discharge rates. 
Le Cornu E, Murray S, Brown EJ, et al. J Med Radiat Sci. 2021;Epub May 31.
Use of health information technology (HIT) can improve care but also lead to unexpected patient harm. In this analysis of incidents and near misses in radiation oncology, a major change in the use of the electronic health record (EHR) led to an increase in reported incidents and near misses. Leaders and HIT professionals should be aware of potential issues and develop a plan to minimize risk prior to major departmental changed including EHR changes.
Oberlander T, Scholle SH, Marsteller JA, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2021;Epub Jun 13.
The goal of the patient centered medical home (PCMH)  model is to reorganize primary care to provide team-based, coordinated, accessible health care. This study used a consensus process with input from a physician panel to examine ambulatory patient safety concerns (e.g., medication safety, diagnostic error, treatment delays, communication or coordination errors) in the context of the PCMH model and explore variability in the implementation of patient safety practices.
Cheraghi-Sohi S, Holland F, Singh H, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;Epub Jun 14.
Diagnostic error continues to be a source of preventable patient harm. The authors undertook a retrospective review of primary care consultations to identify incidence, origin and avoidable harm of missed diagnostic opportunities (MDO). Nearly three-quarters of MDO involved multiple process breakdowns (e.g., history taking, misinterpretation of diagnostic tests, or lack of follow up). Just over one third resulted in moderate to severe avoidable patient harm. Because the majority of MDO involve several contributing factors, interventions, including policy changes, should be multipronged.
Amit Aharon A, Fariba M, Shoshana F, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2021;Epub May 11.
Patient suicide attempts or completions can have negative psychological impacts on the nurses involved. This mixed-methods study found a significant association between emotional distress and feeling alone with absenteeism and higher staff turnover. Healthcare organizations should develop support programs for second victims to increase resiliency and potentially decrease absenteeism and turnover.
Nestler DM, Laack TA, Scanlan-Hanson L, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47(8):503-509.
Peer review can provide clinicians an opportunity to learn from failure, but the process has yet to be standardized.  This article describes the development and implementation of an evidence-based, structured, reproducible care review system at one emergency department affiliated with an academic hospital. The authors outline the care review process, which includes direct care staff feedback; single provider and peer review; structured case rating; systems analysis; loop closure; practice and education output; and consideration of psychological safety.
Cifra CL, Sittig DF, Singh H. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30(7):591-597.
Accurate and timely feedback about patient outcomes can inform and improve future clinical decision-making; however, many barriers exist that prevent effective feedback. This article suggests a sociotechnical approach using information technology (IT) to provide clinician feedback. Feedback sent using the electronic health record can be provided asynchronously, by any member of the care team, and in a structured format to ensure relevance and usefulness.
Evans S, Green A, Roberson A, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:151-156.
A lack of situational awareness can lead to delayed recognition of patient deterioration. This children’s hospital developed and implemented a situational awareness framework designed to decrease emergency transfers to the intensive care unit (ICU). The framework included both objective and subjective criteria. By identifying patients at increased risk of clinical deterioration (“watcher status”) and use of the framework, recognition of deterioration occurred sooner and resulted in fewer emergency transfers to the ICU.
Marang-van de Mheen PJ, Vincent CA. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30(7):525-528.
Research has shown that patients admitted to the hospital on the weekend may experience worse outcomes compared to those admitted on weekdays (the ‘weekend effect’). This editorial highlights the challenges to empirically evaluate the underlying mechanisms contributing to the weekend effect. The authors propose viewing the weekend effect as a proxy for staffing levels and the influence of other factors influencing outcomes for patients admitted on weekends, such as patient acuity, clinician skill-mix and access to diagnostic tests or other ancillary services.
Pathak S, Blanchard CM, Moreton E, et al. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2021;32(2):737-750.
The growing use of telehealth can increase patient access to timely care, but also presents patient safety considerations. The use of telehealth to deliver health care services continues to expand. This systematic review included six studies examining safety and quality issues in community pharmacy-based telepharmacy services. Findings suggest that telepharmacies perform similarly or slightly better than traditional pharmacies in terms of medication safety and adherence, but the authors note a high risk of bias amongst the studies which limits the ability to draw definitive conclusions about patient safety and quality-related outcomes.
Nikouline A, Quirion A, Jung JJ, et al. CJEM. 2021;Epub Apr 30.
Trauma resuscitation is a complex, specialized care process with a high risk for errors. This systematic review identified 39 unique errors occurring in trauma resuscitation involving emergency medical services (EMS) handover; airway management; inadequate assessment and/or management of injuries; inadequate monitoring, transfusion/blood-related errors; team communication errors; procedure-related errors; or errors in disposition.
Louch G, Albutt AK, Harlow-Trigg J, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11(5):e047102.
Prior research found that patients with learning disabilities (e.g., autism, attention deficit disorder, Down’s syndrome) face numerous patient safety threats. In this narrative review, the authors synthesized academic and grey literature exploring patient safety outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities in acute care settings. Findings suggest that individuals with learning disabilities experience poorer patient outcomes but that increasing family and caregiver engagement as well as provider understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities can improve outcomes.
No results.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. June 3, 2021; 26(11): 1-5.

Concentrated potassium chloride is a high-alert medication for which dosing errors are particularly injurious. This article shares the root causes of IV-push missteps with this medication during a code. Recommendations for improvement shared center on team characteristics and communication.

Obermeyer Z, Nissan R, Stern M, et al. Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence, Chicago Booth: June 2021.

Biased algorithms are receiving increasing attention as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more present in health care. This publication shares four steps for organizational assessment algorithms to reduce their potential for negatively influencing clinical and administrative decision making.  

Raz M, Pouryahya P, eds. Singapore; Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd; 2021. ISBN 9789811601422.

Decision making is vulnerable to human influences such as fatigue, interruption and bias. This book provides case examples of how 60 cognitive biases can degrade clinical reasoning in the emergency department and shares tactics that minimize their potential impact on thinking.

Spurgeon P, Cross S. London, UK; Academy of Medical Royal Colleges: May 2021.

Amending curricula to incorporate the increasing scholarship related to patient safety improvement is a challenge. This strategic curricula supports the implementation of a national United Kingdom initiative through the engagement of educational programs to train health professionals in the foundations of safe care. 

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Kriti Gwal, MD |
A 52-year-old man complaining of intermittent left shoulder pain for several years was diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury and underwent left shoulder surgery. The patient received a routine follow-up X-ray four months later. The radiologist interpreted the film as normal but noted a soft tissue density in the chest and advised a follow-up chest X-ray for further evaluation. Although the radiologist’s report was sent to the orthopedic surgeon’s office, the surgeon independently read and interpreted the same images and did not note the soft tissue density or order any follow-up studies. Several months later, the patient’s primary care provider ordered further evaluation and lung cancer was diagnosed. The commentary discusses how miscommunication contributes to delays in diagnosis and treatment and strategies to facilitate effective communication between radiologists and referring clinicians.  
WebM&M Cases
David T. Martin, MD and Diane O’Leary, PhD |
Beginning in her teenage years, a woman began "feeling woozy" after high school gym class. The symptoms were abrupt in onset, lasted between 5 to 15 minutes and then subsided after sitting down. Similar episodes occurred occasionally over the following decade, usually related to stress. When she was in her 30s, she experienced a more severe episode of palpitations and went to the emergency department (ED). An electrocardiogram (ECG) was normal and she was discharged with a diagnosis of stress or possible panic attack. She continued to experience these symptoms for two more years and her primary care physician (PCP) suggested that she see a psychiatrist for presumed panic attacks. At the patient’s request, the PCP ordered a 24-hour Holter monitor, which was normal. When she was 40 years old, the patient experienced another severe episode and went to the ED. During an exercise treadmill test, she experienced another “woozy” spell and the ECG showed an elevated heart rate with narrow QRS complexes. She was diagnosed with paraoxymal supraventricular tacycardia (PSVT). The commentary discusses the diagnostic challenges of PSVT and approaches to reduce diagnostic uncertainty, especially given gender bias in attributing palpitations to psychiatric rather than cardiac causes.
WebM&M Cases
Christian Bohringer, MBBS |
A 34-year-old morbidly obese man was placed under general anesthesia to treat a pilonidal abscess. Upon initial evaluation by an anesthesiologist, he was found to have a short thick neck, suggesting that endotracheal intubation might be difficult. A fellow anesthetist suggested use of video-laryngoscopy equipment, but the attending anesthesiologist rejected the suggestion. A first-year resident attempted to intubate the patient but failed. The attending anesthesiologist took over, but before intubation could be performed, the patient desaturated to 40-50%. A second attempt by the attending anesthesiologist at intubation with a glide scope also failed. The patient’s arterial saturation increased after administration of 100% oxygen by mask and he suffered no apparent neurological consequences. The commentary discusses best practices for managing high risk patients and appropriate use of advanced airway management devices.

This Month’s Perspectives

Anjali Joseph
Perspectives on Safety
Anjali Joseph, PhD, EDAC, is a Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Endowed Chair in Architecture and Health Design. Molly M. Scanlon, PhD, FAIA, FACHA, is the Director at Phigenics, LLC. We spoke with them about how healthcare built environments have been temporarily modified during the COVID-19 pandemic and what learnings may be used moving forward.
Perspective
This piece discusses areas where the healthcare built environment may contribute to the risk of COVID-19 transmission, mitigating strategies, and how the pandemic may impact the built environment moving forward.
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