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November 3, 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

Blume KS, Dietermann K, Kirchner‐Heklau U, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;56(5):885-907.
Nurse staffing levels have been shown to impact patient outcomes. Through an umbrella literature review and expert interviews, researchers developed a list of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes (NSPO). This list provides researchers potential avenues for future studies examining the link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes.
Davidson JE, Doran N, Petty A, et al. Am J Crit Care. 2021;30(5):365-374.
The Joint Commission implemented medication management titration standards in 2017, with revisions in 2020. Researchers surveyed critical care nurses about their experiences with medication titration, use of clinical judgment when titrating, nurses’ scope and autonomy, and their moral distress. Of 781 respondents, 80% perceived the titration standards caused delays in patient care and 68% reported suboptimal care, both of which significantly and strongly predicted moral distress.
Svensson J. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Aug 5.
Safety and quality of care for psychiatric patients is a relatively understudied area of patient safety research. This scoping review explores patient safety strategies used in psychiatry. The review identified seven key strategies that rely on staff performance, competence, and compliance – (1) risk management, (2) healthcare practitioners, (3) patient observation, (4) patient involvement, (5) computerized methods, (6) admission and discharge, and (7) security. These strategies primarily target reductions in suicide, self-harm, violence, and falls.
Molina RL, Benski A-C, Bobanski L, et al. Implement Sci Commun. 2021;2(1):76.
Checklists are widely used to improve patient safety, including reductions in catheter-related bloodstream infections and surgical morbidity and mortality. This study focuses on implementation of the 2015 World Health Organization Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC) which aims to prevent maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Twenty-nine participants from fifteen countries with SCC experience completed a survey and twelve were interviewed. Most reported adapting the SCC for their local setting and a wide variety of implementation strategies were used.
Skoogh A, Hall-Lord ML, Bååth C, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21(1):1093.
Improving maternal safety is a priority patient safety issue. Using the Global Trigger Tool, researchers found that nearly three-quarters of adverse events in one labor ward in a Swedish hospital were preventable. Common events included lacerations and anesthesia-related events and often resulted in a prolonged hospital stay.
Orenstein EW, Kandaswamy S, Muthu N, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;Epub Oct 20.
Alert fatigue is a known contributor to medical error. In this cross-sectional study, researchers found that custom alerts were responsible for the majority of alert burden at six pediatric health systems. This study also compared the use of different alert burden metrics to benchmark burden across and within institutions.
Seidl E, Seidl O. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2021;41(2):9-17.
Diagnostic safety is a patient safety priority across all medical specialties. Over a five-year period, researchers found that 15% of patients referred for psychosomatic consultations at one university hospital were misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis was primarily attributed to availability bias or other biases. Semi-structured interviews with referring physicians highlight the contributing role of physician attitudes and unusual clinical features.

Kelen GD, Wolfe R, D’Onofrio G, et al. NEJM Catalyst. Epub 2021 Sep 28.

Emergency department (ED) overcrowding and boarding can result in worse patient outcomes and increased risk of medical errors. This article describes several causes and impacts of ED overcrowding, current solutions, and regulatory and institutional-level actions to reduce ED overcrowding.
Finney RE, Czinski S, Fjerstad K, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:312-317.
The term “second victim” refers to a healthcare professional who was involved in a medical error and subsequently experiences psychological distress. An American children’s hospital implemented a peer support program for “second victims” in 2019. Healthcare providers were surveyed before and after implementation of the program with results showing the highest ranked option for support following a traumatic clinical event is peer support. Most respondents indicated they were likely to use the program if a future clinical event were to occur.
Iqbal AR, Parau CA, Kazi S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47(12):793-801.
The electronic medication administration record (eMAR) is one technologic strategy to improve medication safety. In this study, usability issues related to eMAR contributed to 473 patient safety event reports. Eight usability challenge categories were identified (e.g. alerts and interoperability). Among these usability challenges, special attention should be paid to workflow and display/visual clutter.
O’Dowd E, Lydon S, Lambe KA, et al. Fam Pract. 2021;Epub Sep 20.
Patient complaints can identify opportunities for patient safety improvement. This study explored whether an existing tool for measuring the severity of patient complaints – the Healthcare Complaints Analysis Tool – can effectively analyze complaints specific to general practice. Key issues identified by the study involved relationships (e.g., communication, patient rights) as well as clinical and management issues.
Schlichtig K, Dürr P, Dörje F, et al. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2021;110(4):1075-1086.
Building on prior research, this study found that medication errors are common in patients starting new oral anticancer therapy. Nearly two-thirds of these medication errors involved concomitantly administered medications (e.g., other prescribed drugs, over-the-counter medications).
Davidson JE, Doran N, Petty A, et al. Am J Crit Care. 2021;30(5):365-374.
The Joint Commission implemented medication management titration standards in 2017, with revisions in 2020. Researchers surveyed critical care nurses about their experiences with medication titration, use of clinical judgment when titrating, nurses’ scope and autonomy, and their moral distress. Of 781 respondents, 80% perceived the titration standards caused delays in patient care and 68% reported suboptimal care, both of which significantly and strongly predicted moral distress.
Schiff G, Shojania KG. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;Epub Oct 10.
This commentary discusses Dr. Lucian Leape’s new book and highlights the ongoing challenges to sustained quantifiable progress to improving patient safety, including misguided metrics, equipment design issues, persistence of fear and blame culture, burnout and shortages of nurses, primary care and other essential workers.
Rosenthal CM, Parker DM, Thompson LA. JAMA Pediatr. 2021;Epub Oct 19.
The care of child abuse victims is affected by resource, racial and infrastructure challenges. This commentary describes how the systemic weaknesses catalyzed by poor data collection approaches contribute to misdiagnosis and suggests that successes be mined to minimize the proliferation of continued disparities in this patient population.
Svensson J. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Aug 5.
Safety and quality of care for psychiatric patients is a relatively understudied area of patient safety research. This scoping review explores patient safety strategies used in psychiatry. The review identified seven key strategies that rely on staff performance, competence, and compliance – (1) risk management, (2) healthcare practitioners, (3) patient observation, (4) patient involvement, (5) computerized methods, (6) admission and discharge, and (7) security. These strategies primarily target reductions in suicide, self-harm, violence, and falls.
Blume KS, Dietermann K, Kirchner‐Heklau U, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;56(5):885-907.
Nurse staffing levels have been shown to impact patient outcomes. Through an umbrella literature review and expert interviews, researchers developed a list of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes (NSPO). This list provides researchers potential avenues for future studies examining the link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes.
No results.

Manchester, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; October 2021.

This report examines a premature infant death associated with failings of antibiotic administration, deterioration recognition and action on family concerns both during treatment and post-incident. The report issues a series of recommendations building on standard remediation guidance in the United Kingdom.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. October 21, 2021;26(21):1-3.

Shortcuts in automated data entry behaviors have potential to result in errors. This article discusses search term length requirements for automated dispensing cabinets and the importance of doing a proactive failure analysis prior to implementing any system conditions to minimize unintended consequences of the rules that could detract from safety.

The Daisy Foundation and Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Nurses have a fundamental role in safe care delivery by fostering a healthy work environment. This award recognizes nurses that exhibit compassion, patient and family centeredness, and a commitment to workplace safety. The award will be presented at annual IHI Patient Safety Congress. Award nominations are due December 3, 2021.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Hannah Spero, MSN, APRN, Angela E. Usher, PhD, LCSW, Brian Howard MS1, and Frederick J. Meyers, MD |
A 77-year-old man was diagnosed with a rectal mass. After discussing goals of care with an oncologist, he declined surgical intervention and underwent targeted radiotherapy before being lost to follow up. The patient subsequently presented to Emergency Department after a fall at home and was found to have new metastatic lesions in both lungs and numerous enhancing lesions in the brain. Further discussions of the goals of care revealed that the patient desired to focus on comfort and on maintaining independence for as long as possible. The inpatient hospice team discussed the potential role of brain radiotherapy for palliation to meet the goal of maintaining independence. The patient successfully completed a course of central nervous system (CNS) radiation, which resulted in improved strength, energy, speech, and quality of life. This case represents a perceived delay in palliative radiation, an “error” in care. The impact of the delay was lessened by the hospice team who role modeled integration of disease directed therapy with palliative care, a departure from the historic model of separation of hospice from disease treatment. 
WebM&M Cases
Gary S. Leiserowitz, MD, MS and Herman Hedriana, MD |
A 32-year-old pregnant woman presented with prelabor rupture of membranes at 37 weeks’ gestation. During labor, the fetal heart rate dropped suddenly and the obstetric provider diagnosed umbilical cord prolapse and called for an emergency cesarean delivery. Uterine atony was noted after delivery of the placenta, which quickly responded to oxytocin bolus and uterine massage. After delivery, the patient was transferred to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and monitored for 90 minutes, after which she was deemed stable, despite some abnormal vital signs. All monitor alarm functions were silenced to help the patient rest until a bed became available on the maternity floor. After another 90 minutes, the patient’s nurse discovered her unresponsive and the bedsheets were blood-soaked. A massive transfusion was ordered and uterotonic medications were administered, but vaginal bleeding continued. During an emergency laparotomy, the uterus was noted to be atonic despite uterotonic therapy, requiring an emergency hysterectomy. The commentary discusses the importance and use of early maternal warning systems, checklists and protocols to avoid poor maternal outcomes.
WebM&M Cases
Marissa G. Vadi, MD, MPH, and Mathew R. Malkin, MD |
A 6-week-old infant underwent a craniotomy and excision of abnormal brain tissue for treatment of hemimegalencephaly and epilepsy. A right femoral central venous catheter and an arterial catheter were inserted, as well as 22-gauge intravenous catheter inserted into the external jugular vein, which was covered with surgical drapes.  During the surgical procedure, the neurosurgeon adjusted the patient’s head, displacing the external jugular intravenous catheter into the subcutaneous tissue.  The catheter’s dislodgment went unnoticed due to its position underneath the surgical drapes. The commentary discusses the importance intraoperative monitoring of intravenous catheters and the use of surgical safety checklists to improve communication and prevent surgical complications.

This Month’s Perspectives

Gina Luchen
Interview
Georgia Galanou Luchen, Pharm. D., is the Director of Member Relations at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). In this role, she leads initiatives related to community pharmacy practitioners and their impact throughout the care continuum. We spoke with her about different types of community pharmacists and the role they play in ensuring patient safety. 
Alison Stuebe photo
Interview
Alison Stuebe, MD, MSc, is a professor and Division Director for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and the co-director of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health. Kristin Tully, PhD, is a research assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC Chapel Hill and a member of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health. We spoke with them about their work in maternal and infant care and what they are discovering about equitable care and its impact on patient safety.
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