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August 18, 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

Blum MR, Sallevelt B, Spinewine A, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1585.
Older adults with multimorbidity and polypharmacy are at increased risk of adverse drug events. This cluster randomized controlled trial compared drug-related hospitalization rates of older adults who received a structured deprescribing intervention and those who received usual care. While rates of polypharmacy decreased, there was no effect on drug-related hospitalizations.
Elwy AR, Maguire EM, McCullough M, et al. Healthc (Amst). 2021;8(Suppl1):100496.
Disclosure of medical errors is supported by both patients and providers. Following the implementation of the Veterans Health Administration’s policy on disclosing medical errors to patients and their families, it was necessary to determine the effects of implementation (or not) of this policy. This article describes the development, implementation, and sustainment of an error disclosure toolkit for use across the VA system.
Levy FH, Conrad KA, Kemper C, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2021;6(4):e449.
Patient safety organizations (PSOs) collect and analyze protected safety incident data from across the United States. This article describes the development of the Child Health PSO and how it evolved into a learning network through alignment around a common goal, collaboration, and information sharing with high levels of engagement from participating children’s hospitals.
Elwy AR, Maguire EM, McCullough M, et al. Healthc (Amst). 2021;8(Suppl1):100496.
Disclosure of medical errors is supported by both patients and providers. Following the implementation of the Veterans Health Administration’s policy on disclosing medical errors to patients and their families, it was necessary to determine the effects of implementation (or not) of this policy. This article describes the development, implementation, and sustainment of an error disclosure toolkit for use across the VA system.
Sullivant SA, Brookstein D, Camerer M, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47(8):496-502.
Improving screening for suicidal ideation is an important patient safety priority. This article describes the implementation and evaluation of a hospital-wide program to identify teenagers at elevated risk for suicide and to connect them with services. During the first year of implementation, over 138,000 screenings were completed and 6.8% of screens were positive for elevated risk.
Blum MR, Sallevelt B, Spinewine A, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1585.
Older adults with multimorbidity and polypharmacy are at increased risk of adverse drug events. This cluster randomized controlled trial compared drug-related hospitalization rates of older adults who received a structured deprescribing intervention and those who received usual care. While rates of polypharmacy decreased, there was no effect on drug-related hospitalizations.
Marziliano A, Burns E, Chauhan L, et al. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021;Epub Jul 19.
Many COVID-19 patients present with atypical symptoms, such as delirium, smell and taste dysfunction, or cardiovascular features. Based on inpatient electronic health record data between March 1 and April 20 of 2020, this cohort study examined the frequency of atypical presentation of COVID-19 among older adults. Analyses suggest that atypical presentation was often characterized by functional decline or altered mental status.
Hernández-Prats C, López-Pintor E, Lumbreras B. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;Epub Jul 12.
Clinical pharmacists play an important role in ensuring patient safety, particularly in interventions aimed at reducing polypharmacy. This review focused on interventions involving pharmacists to reduce polypharmacy and inappropriate medications for patients with heart failure. Findings indicate interventions are most successful when specific guidelines or recommendations to assess appropriate prescribing of heart failure medications are followed.
Miller-Kleinhenz JM, Collin LJ, Seidel R, et al. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021;Epub Jul 16.
Delayed diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can lead to poor outcomes. Based on multi-year data from one health system, the authors of this cohort study found that black women with screen-detected breast cancers were more likely than white women to experience diagnostic delays, including delays in diagnostic evaluation and biopsy. The delay in diagnosis was also associated with an increase in breast cancer mortality.
Damery S, Flanagan S, Jones J, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(14):7581.
Hospital admissions and preventable adverse events, such as falls and pressure ulcers, are common in long-term care. In this study, care home staff were provided skills training and facilitated support. After 24 months, the safety climate had improved, and both falls and pressure ulcers were reduced.
Bryant J, Carey M, Sanson-Fisher R, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(5):e387-e392.
When an error or adverse event occurs, patients and families want to be informed. In this study of oncology patients, more than one quarter perceived an adverse event had occurred. While most were informed soon after the event occurred and given an explanation, fewer than half were given information on how to move forward with a complaint if they wished. Regular communication between patients and providers about actual or perceived adverse events may decrease the risk of it happening again.
Hackenberg EAM, Sallinen V, Handolin L, et al. J Interpers Violence. 2021;36(15-16):7832-7854.
Victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) may seek care at emergency departments. This study of self-reporting IPV victims found that while serious injuries were rare, many victims had suffered extreme violence and approximately half had risk factors for re-abuse. Fewer than 20% were referred to victim advocacy resources.
Webster KLW, Stikes R, Bunnell L, et al. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2021;35(3):258-265.
Infant misidentification or abduction are considered never events. This article discusses the results of a failure mode and effects analysis to identify and eliminate or reduce the risk of infant misidentification or abduction. Twenty-eight failure modes were identified; the highest-ranked items involved concerns for uninvited individuals on the unit, interactions with child-protective services, alarm fatigue, and inadequate identification checks of the infants with mothers.
Levy FH, Conrad KA, Kemper C, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2021;6(4):e449.
Patient safety organizations (PSOs) collect and analyze protected safety incident data from across the United States. This article describes the development of the Child Health PSO and how it evolved into a learning network through alignment around a common goal, collaboration, and information sharing with high levels of engagement from participating children’s hospitals.
Rocha HM, Farre AGM, Santana Filho VJ. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2021;53(4):458-467.
Patient boarding in the emergency department (ED) can result in patient harm. This review explored the association between boarding in the ED and quality of care, outcomes, and adverse events. Increased boarding time was associated with poorer quality of care and outcomes.
Schnock KO, Biggs B, Fladger A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(5):e462-e468.
Hospitals have implemented radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology to improve patient safety. This systematic review of 5 studies suggests that use of RFID can lead to rapid, accurate detection of retained surgical instruments (RSIs) and reduced risk of counting errors.
Jun J, Ojemeni MM, Kalamani R, et al. Int J Nurs Stud. 2021;119:103933.
Burnout among nurses can compromise safe patient care and lead to poor outcomes. This systematic review identified five organizational-level outcomes associated with nurse burnout – (1) patient safety, (2) quality of care, (3) nurses’ organizational commitment, (4) nurse productivity, and (5) patient satisfaction – and these themes were consistently inversely associated with outcome measures.

Gangopadhyaya A. Washington DC; Urban Institute: July 2021.

Racial inequities have been revealed by the COVID pandemic as a distinct patient safety concern. This report examined racial differences using patient safety indicators to measure hospital-acquired conditions, insurance coverage, and hospital patient population. The results indicate Black patients have reduced safety, that insurance coverage had little influence on safety and hospitals with a higher Black patient population experienced more adverse events that those serving a white patient population.

Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021. ISBN: 9789240032705.

The World Health Organization has released the Global Action Safety Plan 2021-2030. This plan provides strategic policy and implementation direction for a wide range of clinical and governmental organizations who work with patient safety. The plan has seven strategic objectives – (1) policies to eliminate avoidable harm, (2) high-reliability systems, (3) safety of clinical processes, (4) patient and family engagement, (5) health worker education, skills, and safety, (6) information, research, and risk management, and (7) synergy, partnership, and solidarity

Kast S, Gerr M, Black D, et al. “On the Record.” WYPR. August 3, 2021

Misdiagnosis is a persistent challenge for patients and families to navigate. This audio news segment highlights one family's experience with poor care stemming from disrespect and premature closure that resulted in missed diagnosis, unnecessary care, and patient death. The story is coupled with a broader discussion on the extent of diagnostic errors and reasons they occur.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Minna Wieck, MD |
A seven-year-old girl with esophageal stenosis underwent upper endoscopy with esophageal dilation under general anesthesia. During the procedure, she was fully monitored with a continuous arterial oxygen saturation probe, heart rate monitors, two-lead electrocardiography, continuous capnography, and non-invasive arterial blood pressure measurements. The attending gastroenterologist and endoscopist were serially dilating the esophagus with larger and larger rigid dilators when the patient suddenly developed hypotension. She was immediately given a fluid bolus, phenylephrine, and 100% oxygen but still developed cardiac arrest. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was initiated with cardiac massage, but she could not be resuscitated and died. This commentary highlights the role of communication between providers, necessary technical steps to mitigate the risks of upper endoscopy in children, and the importance of education and training for care team members.
WebM&M Cases
Narath Carlile, MD, MPH, Soheil El-Chemaly, MD, MPH, and Gordon D. Schiff, MD |
A 31-year-old woman presented to the ED with worsening shortness of breath and was unexpectedly found to have a moderate-sized left pneumothorax, which was treated via a thoracostomy tube. After additional work-up and computed tomography (CT) imaging, she was told that she had some blebs and mild emphysema, but was discharged without any specific follow-up instructions except to see her primary care physician. Three days later, the patient returned to the same ED with similar symptoms and again was found to have had a left pneumothorax that required chest tube placement, but the underlying cause was not established. After she was found two weeks later in severe respiratory distress, she was taken to another ED by paramedics where the consulting pulmonary physician diagnosed her with a rare cystic lung disease. The commentary discusses the importance of CT scans for evaluating spontaneous pneumothorax and educating providers to increase awareness of rare cystic lung diseases.
WebM&M Cases
Cynthia Li, PharmD, and Katrina Marquez, PharmD |
This commentary presents two cases highlighting common medication errors in retail pharmacy settings and discusses the importance of mandatory counseling for new medications, use of standardized error reporting processes, and the role of clinical decision support systems (CDSS) in medical decision-making and ensuring medication safety.

This Month’s Perspectives

James_Augustine
Interview
James Augustine, MD, is the National Director of Prehospital Strategy at US Acute Care Solutions where he provides service as a Fire EMS Medical Director. We spoke with him about threats and concerns for patient safety for EMS when responding to a 911 call.
Perspective
This piece discusses EMS patient safety concerns in the field and discusses operational concerns, clinical concerns, and safety of personnel.
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