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November 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

Freeman K, Geppert J, Stinton C, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1872.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used and studied in multiple healthcare processes, including detecting patient deterioration and surgical decision making. This literature review focuses on studies using AI to detect breast cancer in mammography screening practice. The authors recommend additional prospective studies before using artificial intelligence in clinical practice. 
O’Connor P, O’Malley R, Lambe KA, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;Epub Oct 9.
Patient safety incidents occurring in prehospital care settings are gaining increasing attention. This systematic review including both peer-reviewed studies and grey literature found that the incidence rate of prehospital patient safety incidents is similar to hospital rates. The authors identified an average of 5.9 patient safety incidents per 100 records/transports/patients occurring in prehospital care; approximately 15% of these incidents resulted in patient harm. The authors discuss methodological challenges to preshopital care research and make recommendations for future studies.
Townsend T, Cerdá M, Bohnert AS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(11):1766-1775.
Misuse of prescription opioids represents a serious patient safety issue. Using commercial claims from 2014 - 2018, researchers examined the association between the 2016 CDC guidelines to reduce unsafe opioid prescribing and opioid dispensing for patients with four common chronic pain diagnoses. Findings indicate that the release of the 2016 guidelines was associated with reductions in the percentage of patients receiving opioids, average dose prescribed, percentage receiving high-dose prescriptions, number of days supplied, and the percentage of patients receiving concurrent opioid/benzodiazepine prescriptions. The authors observe that questions remain about how clinicians are tailoring opioid reductions using a patient-centered approach.
Manias E, Street M, Lowe G, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21(1):1025.
This study explored associations between person-related (e.g., individual responsible for medication error), environment-related (e.g., transitions of care), and communication-related (e.g., misreading of medication order) medication errors in two Australian hospitals. The authors recommend that improved communication regarding medications with patients and families could reduce medication errors associated with possible or probable harm.
Townsend T, Cerdá M, Bohnert AS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(11):1766-1775.
Misuse of prescription opioids represents a serious patient safety issue. Using commercial claims from 2014 - 2018, researchers examined the association between the 2016 CDC guidelines to reduce unsafe opioid prescribing and opioid dispensing for patients with four common chronic pain diagnoses. Findings indicate that the release of the 2016 guidelines was associated with reductions in the percentage of patients receiving opioids, average dose prescribed, percentage receiving high-dose prescriptions, number of days supplied, and the percentage of patients receiving concurrent opioid/benzodiazepine prescriptions. The authors observe that questions remain about how clinicians are tailoring opioid reductions using a patient-centered approach.
Dunbar NM, Kaufman RM. Transfusion (Paris). 2021;Epub Nov 3.
Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) errors can be classified as intended patient drawn/wrong label applied or wrong patient/intended label applied. In this international study, errors were divided almost evenly between the two types and most were a combination of protocol violations (e.g. technology not used or not used appropriately) and slips/lapses (e.g., registration errors). Additional contributory factors and recommendations for improvement are also discussed.
Pueyo-López C, Sánchez-Cuervo M, Vélez-Díaz-Pallarés M, et al. J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2021;27(7):1588-1595.
Researchers in this study used healthcare failure mode and effect analysis (HFMEA) to identify and reduce errors during chemotherapy preparation. Nine potential failure modes were identified – wrong label, drug, dose, solvent, or volume; non-sterile preparation; incomplete control; improper packaging or labeling, and; break or spill – and the potential causes and effects. Potential approaches to reduce these failure modes include updating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), implementing a bar code system, and using a weight-based control system.
Upadhyay S, Stephenson AL, Weech-Maldonado R, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Sep 28.
This longitudinal study concluded that culturally competent hospitals have better patient safety culture than other hospitals. Based on survey data, results indicate that hospitals with higher levels of engagement in diversity programs had higher perceptions of management support for safety, teamwork across units, and nonpunitive responses.
McNiven B, Brown AD. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47(12):809-813.
Errors and near misses reported via incident reporting systems can highlight emerging patient safety concerns; however, rates of reporting remain low. In this comparison study of web-based and interactive voice response systems (IVRS), the mean number of reports was higher for IVRS and length of time to complete the report was lower.
Robinson-Lane SG, Sutton NR, Chubb H, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;22(11):2245-2250.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. This study used registry data to examine racial and ethnic disparities in post-discharge outcomes among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Findings indicate that Black patients may be more vulnerable to COVID-19-related complications (e.g., higher 60-day readmission rates) and extended recovery periods (e.g., longest delays in returning to work).
Soncrant C, Mills PD, Pendley Louis RP, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Aug 19.
Using data from the Veterans Health Administration National Center for Patient Safety, this retrospective study found that suicide and opioid overdose are the most serious healthcare-related adverse events affecting homeless veterans. Identified root causes include issues related to risk assessment for suicidal or overdose behaviors as well as poor interdisciplinary communication and coordination of care.
Grytnes R, Nielsen ML, Jørgensen A, et al. Safety Sci. 2021;143:105417.
Safe workplaces, and employees who work safely, are an important component of patient safety. This study explores new employees’ safety learning in three sectors, including care of older adults. Organizational and informal safety training and learning are discussed.
Urban D, Burian BK, Patel K, et al. Ann Surg. 2021;2(3):e075.
The WHO surgical safety checklist has been implemented in healthcare systems around the world. Survey responses from 2,032 surgical team members from high-income countries suggest that most respondents perceive the checklist as enhancing patient safety, but that not all team members are engaging with its use or feel confident in their role in the checklist process.
Ly DP. Ann Emerg Med. 2021;78(5):650-657.
A common type of diagnostic error is availability bias, or diagnosing a patient based on experiences with past similar cases. This study examined whether an emergency physician’s recent experience of a patient presenting with shortness of breath and diagnosed with pulmonary embolism increased subsequent pulmonary embolism diagnoses. While pulmonary embolism diagnosis did increase over the following ten days, that effect did not persist over the 50 days following the first 10 days.
Krishnan S, Wheeler KK, Pimentel MP, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2021;Epub Oct 28.
Incident reporting systems are used to detect patient safety concerns and determine potential causes and opportunities for improvements. In the perioperative setting of one hospital, insufficient handoffs were the most common event type in the “coordination of care” category. Use of structured handoffs is recommended to improve communication and patient safety.
Chauhan A, Walpola RL. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33(4):mzab145.
Health care decision making and delivery are vulnerable to unconscious bias. This commentary discusses strategies in place to address unconscious bias as it affects medication safety. The authors suggest a focus on engaging ethnic minority consumers as partners to design improvement programs to enhance medication delivery.
Burden AR, Potestio C, Pukenas E. Adv Anesth. 2021;39:133-148.
Handoffs occur several times during a perioperative encounter, increasing the risk of communication errors. Structured handoffs, such as situation-background-assessment-recommendation (SBAR) and checklists, have been shown to improve communication between providers during anesthesia care. The authors discuss how these tools and other processes can improve shared understanding of effective handoffs.
O’Connor P, O’Malley R, Lambe KA, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;Epub Oct 9.
Patient safety incidents occurring in prehospital care settings are gaining increasing attention. This systematic review including both peer-reviewed studies and grey literature found that the incidence rate of prehospital patient safety incidents is similar to hospital rates. The authors identified an average of 5.9 patient safety incidents per 100 records/transports/patients occurring in prehospital care; approximately 15% of these incidents resulted in patient harm. The authors discuss methodological challenges to preshopital care research and make recommendations for future studies.
Freeman K, Geppert J, Stinton C, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1872.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used and studied in multiple healthcare processes, including detecting patient deterioration and surgical decision making. This literature review focuses on studies using AI to detect breast cancer in mammography screening practice. The authors recommend additional prospective studies before using artificial intelligence in clinical practice. 
No results.

Irvine, CA: The Patient Safety Movement Foundation; 2021.

Blood transfusion mistakes can result in severe adverse events. This report shares successful strategies to reduce transfusion process errors. The document highlights patient assessment, process standardization, and cross-disciplinary team building as steps toward improving transfusion safety.

Jewett C. Kaiser Health News. November 4, 2021.

Nosocomial infection is a primary concern due to the COVID pandemic. This news story examines instances when inpatients contracted, and sometimes died of, COVID-19 while receiving care for a different condition. It summarizes the challenges associated with collecting adequate data that completely document nosocomial spread of COVID-19 and its impact on patient outcomes.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. November 4, 2021;26(22); 1-4.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment during life-threatening emergencies such as strokes can result in irreversible patient harm. This article discusses a variety of factors contributing to errors in administering hypertonic sodium chloride in emergent situations. The piece shares recommendations touching on various elements of the medication delivery process to enhance safety.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2021.

AHRQ’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS®) ask health care providers and staff about the extent to which their organizational culture supports patient safety. The release of the Workplace Safety supplemental items for use in conjunction with the AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture™ helps hospitals assess how their workplace culture supports workplace safety for providers and staff. Included with the data set is a report of the pilot test of the finding. You can learn more about the supplemental items and can register for a webcast introducing the Workplace Safety items here: Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS®) | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ahrq.gov)  
Grant Announcement

Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Fed Register. November 3, 2021;(86):60883-60893.

Patient suicide attempts are considered never events. This funding announcement calls for program applications to motivate suicide prevention strategy implementation in the indigenous peoples’ community. The effort anchors on the Zero Suicide initiative to address unique challenges presented by the Indian health system. 

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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