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December 22, 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

Fontil V, Pacca L, Bellows BK, et al. JAMA Cardiol. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Racial and ethnic inequities are increasingly being linked to health disparities. This study of more than 16,000 patients explored the association between race and ethnicity and blood pressure control. Findings suggest racial and ethnic inequities in treatment intensification may be associated with more than 20% of observed racial or ethnic disparities in blood pressure control.
Wallis CJD, Jerath A, Coburn N, et al. JAMA Surg. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Gender, racial, and ethnic disparities in healthcare can adversely impact patient safety and lead to poor outcomes. This retrospective study examined surgeon-patient sex discordance and perioperative outcomes among adult patients in Ontario, Canada, undergoing common elective or emergent surgical procedures from 2007 to 2019. Among 1.3 million patients, sex discordance between surgeon and patient was associated with a significant increased likelihood of adverse perioperative outcomes, including death. Subgroup analyses indicate that this relationship is driven by worse outcomes among female patients treated by male surgeons.

Wiig S, Haraldseid-Driftland C, Tvete Zachrisen R, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):e1707-e1718.  

Families and next of kin are important partners in patient safety. In two Norwegian counties, next of kin who had lost a family member due to an adverse event participated in in-person meetings with inspectors as part of the regulatory investigation. This study explored the experiences and perspectives of the next of kin (Part 1) and regulatory inspectors (Part 2) involved in this new approach to next-of-kin involvement in regulatory investigations. Despite being an emotionally challenging process, next of kin viewed participation in the regulatory investigation as a positive experience and believed that their contributions improved the investigation process.
Stahl K, Groene O. PLoS ONE. 2021;16(12):e0259252.
Patient safety in ambulatory care is an emerging focus of measurement and improvement efforts. This cross-sectional study including patients from 22 ambulatory care practices in Germany found that nearly 3% of respondents had experienced a patient safety event during the last 12 months. The authors discuss how different approaches to voluntary reporting can influence measurement of patient experience.
Fontil V, Pacca L, Bellows BK, et al. JAMA Cardiol. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Racial and ethnic inequities are increasingly being linked to health disparities. This study of more than 16,000 patients explored the association between race and ethnicity and blood pressure control. Findings suggest racial and ethnic inequities in treatment intensification may be associated with more than 20% of observed racial or ethnic disparities in blood pressure control.
Wallis CJD, Jerath A, Coburn N, et al. JAMA Surg. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Gender, racial, and ethnic disparities in healthcare can adversely impact patient safety and lead to poor outcomes. This retrospective study examined surgeon-patient sex discordance and perioperative outcomes among adult patients in Ontario, Canada, undergoing common elective or emergent surgical procedures from 2007 to 2019. Among 1.3 million patients, sex discordance between surgeon and patient was associated with a significant increased likelihood of adverse perioperative outcomes, including death. Subgroup analyses indicate that this relationship is driven by worse outcomes among female patients treated by male surgeons.
Yansane A, Tokede O, Walji MF, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):e1050-e1056.
Clinician burnout is a known threat to patient safety. This survey of a national sample of dentists found that approximately 1 in 10 respondents reported high levels of burnout and 50% of respondents reported a perceived dental error in the last 6 months. Efforts to minimize burnout among dentists may help improve patient safety.
Gibson BA, McKinnon E, Bentley RC, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021;Epub Oct 21.
A shared understanding of terminology is critical to providing appropriate treatment and care. This study assessed pathologist and clinician agreement of commonly-used phrases used to describe diagnostic uncertainty in surgical pathology reports. Phrases with the strongest agreement in meaning were “diagnostic of” and “consistent with”. “Suspicious for” and “compatible with” had the weakest agreement. Standardized diagnostic terms may improve communication.
Haque H, Alrowily A, Jalal Z, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2021;43(6):1693-1704.
While direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) are considered safer than warfarin, DOAC-related medication errors still occur. This study assesses the frequency, type, and potential causality of DOAC-related medication errors and the nature of clinical pharmacist intervention. Active, rather than latent, failures contributed to most errors.

Uttaro E, Zhao F, Schweighardt A. Int J Pharm Compd. 2021;25(5):364-371. 

Medication administration, particularly when it involves drug formulation manipulation, is a complex process. This study analyzed the products included on the Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ (ISMP) ‘Do Not Crush List’ and found that many presented no risk or low risk for crushing. The authors provide recommendations for clinicians to aid in clinical decision-making regarding crushing, such as suitable personal protective equipment and prompt administration.

Wiig S, Haraldseid-Driftland C, Tvete Zachrisen R, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):e1707-e1718.  

Families and next of kin are important partners in patient safety. In two Norwegian counties, next of kin who had lost a family member due to an adverse event participated in in-person meetings with inspectors as part of the regulatory investigation. This study explored the experiences and perspectives of the next of kin (Part 1) and regulatory inspectors (Part 2) involved in this new approach to next-of-kin involvement in regulatory investigations. Despite being an emotionally challenging process, next of kin viewed participation in the regulatory investigation as a positive experience and believed that their contributions improved the investigation process.
Draus C, Mianecki TB, Musgrove H, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2021;Epub Nov 15.
“Second victims” are healthcare providers who experience negative feelings in their personal or professional lives after being involved in unanticipated adverse patient events. One hundred and fifty-nine nurses at one American hospital reported being a second victim and experiencing psychological and/or physical distress following the incident.
Anand TV, Wallace BK, Chase HS. BMC Geriatr. 2021;21(1):648.
Older adults, particularly those taking more than one medication, are at increased risk of adverse drug events (ADE). In this study of 6,545 older adult patients who were prescribed at least 3 medications, multidrug interactions (MDI) were identified in 1.3% of medication lists. Psychotropic medications were the most commonly involved medication class; the most common serious ADE were serotonin syndrome, seizures, prolonged QT interval, and bleeding.
Brown B, Bermingham S, Vermeulen M, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10(4):e001593.
Despite evidence of the benefits of the World Health Organization’s surgical safety checklist, implementation and sustainability are inconsistent in many hospitals. Using five cycles of Plan-Do-Study-Act, a hospital in Adelaide, South Australia was able to increase use of the checklist from 3.5% to 63%. Staff reported that they felt the new checklist process improved patient safety and was easily incorporated into their workflow.
Weber L, Schulze I, Jaehde U. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;Epub Nov 18.
Chemotherapy administration errors can result in serious patient harm. Using failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), researchers identified potential failures related to the medication process for intravenous chemotherapy. Common failures included incorrect patient information, non-standardized chemotherapy protocols, and problems related to supportive therapy.
Bryant BE, Jordan A, Clark US. JAMA Psych. 2021;Epub Dec 8.
Research and medical practice are negatively affected by systemic and implicit bias. This commentary discusses this phenomenon in the mental health sector and suggests a role for researchers to reduce the inappropriate use of race in psychiatric practice while limiting its detrimental impact on care nationwide.
Schefft M, Noda A, Godbout E. Curr Treat Options Pediatr. 2021;7(3):138-151.
Overuse of medical care represents a significant patient safety challenge. This review discusses the impacts of healthcare overuse and unnecessary care on patient safety, including contributions to avoidable adverse events, increasing risks for healthcare-acquired infections, and adverse psychological outcomes.
McGaughey J, Fergusson DA, Van Bogaert P, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;2021(11).
Rapid response systems (RRS) and early warning systems (EWS) are designed to detect patient deterioration and prevent cardiac arrest, transfer to the intensive care unit, or death. This review updates the authors’ review published in 2007. Eleven studies representing patients in 282 hospitals were reviewed to determine the effect of RRS or EWS on patient outcomes.
Kemp T, Butler‐Henderson K, Allen P, et al. Health Info Libr J. 2021;38(4):248-258.
This review focused on the impact of the Health Information Management (HIM) profession on patient safety as it relates to health information documentation. Key themes identified were data quality, information governance, corporate governance, skills, and knowledge required for HIM professionals.

Patient Safety Movement Foundation. January 25, 2022, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM (eastern).

Successful patient safety improvements engage individuals across the continuum of care and administrative processes, including patients as advocates for change. This webinar will highlight the role of the patient in influencing legislation designed to affect systems of care to ensure safe practice.

Gebeloff R, Thomas K, Silver-Greenberg J. New York TimesDecember 9, 2021.

Nursing homes harbor numerous challenges to patient safety and they should be transparently reported and acted upon to ensure improvement. This news investigation discusses a gap in the reporting and inspection of nursing home incidents that undermines the ability of the US nursing home rating system to inform consumer long term care facility choice.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; November 2021. AHRQ Pub. No. 22-0005.

This analysis of reports submitted by Patient Safety Organizations during the early months of the COVID pandemic found that patients testing positive for COVID-19 or being investigated for carrying the virus was the most frequently reported patient safety concern (26.6%). In addition, patients and staff being exposed to individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19 was identified as a patient safety issue in 18.2% of the records analyzed.

Glicksman E. Washington Post. December 11, 2021.

A successful patient/physician relationship enables care that is specific for the individual, their unique concerns, and distinct lifestyles. This article discusses patient choice in physicians as a strategy to reduce the impact of implicit ethnic bias, while arguing that fundamental change will occur only by reducing racism through system change.

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.
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