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February 16, 2022 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

Bell SK, Dong J, Ngo L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Feb 4.
Limited English-language health literacy (LEHL) and disadvantaged socioeconomic position (dSEP) have been shown to increase risk of adverse events and near misses. Using data from the 2017 Institute for Healthcare Improvement-National Patient Safety Foundation study, researchers found, while respondents with LEHL or dSEP experienced diagnostic errors at the same rate as their counterparts, they were more likely to report unique contributing factors and more long-term emotional, physical, and financial harm.
Hüner B, Derksen C, Schmiedhofer M, et al. Healthcare (Basel). 2022;10:97.
Labor and delivery units are high-risk care environments. Based on a retrospective review of obstetrical adverse events occurring at one German hospital in 2018, researchers created a matrix of preventable factors contributing to adverse events. Six categories of preventable events were identified (peripartum therapy delay; diagnostic error; inadequate maternal birth position; organizational errors; inadequate fetal monitoring; medication error) and 19 associated risk factors, including language barriers, missed diagnosis of a preexisting condition, and on-call duty.
Zerah L, Henrard S, Thevelin S, et al. Age Ageing. 2022;51:afab196.
Adverse drug events (ADEs) are an important cause of hospitalizations in older adults. Based on data from the OPERAM trial, this study explored the accuracy of triggers for identifying medication-related hospital admissions in older adults. Triggers were related to diagnoses (e.g., falls, bleeding, thromboembolic events), laboratory values (e.g., hypo- or hyperglycemia) and other factors (e.g., mention of an ADE in the patient record, abrupt medication discontinuation). Among 1,235 included hospitalizations, 58% cases had at least one trigger; medication-related admissions were adjudicated in 72% of these cases.
Hatfield M, Ciaburri R, Shaikh H, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2022;12:181-190.
Workplace violence in health care settings can adversely affect the safety of healthcare workers and patients. Baseline responses from 309 pediatric physicians, nurses, and residents at one hospital revealed that the majority have received verbal threats from patients or family members. Offensive behavior from patients or family members was commonly based on provider age, gender, race/ethnicity, or appearance. After an interprofessional training intervention focused on addressing and reporting mistreatment, providers reported increased reporting knowledge, self-efficacy, and reporting behaviors.
Lawson SA, Hornung LN, Lawrence M, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;149:e2020004937.
Insulin is a high-risk medication and can contribute to adverse events in pediatric patients. This paper describes one children’s hospital’s experience implementing a new standardized medication administration process for insulin and the impact on insulin-related adverse drug events (ADEs). Findings indicate that implementation of a PRN (i.e., “as needed”) ordering process and clinician education decreased insulin-related ADEs and reduced the time between blood glucose checks and insulin administration.
Liu Y, Becker A, Mattke S. J Healthc Qual. 2022;Epub Jan 27.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is increasingly used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). This study found that providers or practices with higher quality measure scores of MAT continuity (percentage of patients with OUD who had at least 180 days of continuous treatment) had a lower risk of opioid-related adverse events among their patients.
Wooldridge AR, Carayon P, Hoonakker PLT, et al. Appl Ergon. 2022;98:103606.
Care transitions can increase the risk of patient safety events. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model, this study explored care transitions between operating rooms and inpatient critical care units and the importance of articulation work (i.e., preparation and follow-up activities related to transitions) to ensure safe transitions.
Bell SK, Dong J, Ngo L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Feb 4.
Limited English-language health literacy (LEHL) and disadvantaged socioeconomic position (dSEP) have been shown to increase risk of adverse events and near misses. Using data from the 2017 Institute for Healthcare Improvement-National Patient Safety Foundation study, researchers found, while respondents with LEHL or dSEP experienced diagnostic errors at the same rate as their counterparts, they were more likely to report unique contributing factors and more long-term emotional, physical, and financial harm.
Bastakoti M, Muhailan M, Nassar A, et al. Diagnosis. 2022;9:107-114.
Misdiagnosis in the emergency department (ED) can result in increased morbidity and mortality. This retrospective chart review of patients admitted from the ED to hospital explored the concordance of ED admission and hospital discharge diagnoses. Results show 21.77% of patients had discordant diagnoses; discordant diagnosis was associated with increased length of stay, mortality, and up-triage to ICU.
Hill SR, Bhattarai N, Tolley CL, et al. BMJ Open. 2022;12:e053115.
Medication errors and adverse drug events are common among hospitalized patients. Based on preferences obtained from a sample of individuals living in the United Kingdom, this study explored public value placed on preventing medication administration errors.
Adamson L, Beldham‐Collins R, Sykes J, et al. J Med Radiat Sci. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Reporting of near misses and adverse events can provide a foundation for learning from error. This quality improvement project surveyed radiation oncology staff in two local health districts to assess understanding and use of incident learning systems, barriers to reporting or needs for process change, and perception of departmental safety culture. System processes (e.g., takes too long) were identified as barriers to reporting more frequently than safety culture (e.g., fear of negative action towards self or others).
Peat G, Olaniyan JO, Fylan B, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2022;Epub Jan 28.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of healthcare delivery for both patients and health care workers. This study explored the how COVID-19-related policies and initiatives intended to improve patient safety impacted workflow, system adaptations, as well as organizational and individual resilience among community pharmacists.
Dempsey C, Batten P. J Nurs Adm. 2022;52:91-98.
Appropriate levels of nurse staffing have been shown to improve patient outcomes. This national study explored the effect of nurse staffing on clinical quality, nurse experience, and nurse engagement. Consistent with earlier research, nurse staffing was associated with improved clinical outcomes.
Zerah L, Henrard S, Thevelin S, et al. Age Ageing. 2022;51:afab196.
Adverse drug events (ADEs) are an important cause of hospitalizations in older adults. Based on data from the OPERAM trial, this study explored the accuracy of triggers for identifying medication-related hospital admissions in older adults. Triggers were related to diagnoses (e.g., falls, bleeding, thromboembolic events), laboratory values (e.g., hypo- or hyperglycemia) and other factors (e.g., mention of an ADE in the patient record, abrupt medication discontinuation). Among 1,235 included hospitalizations, 58% cases had at least one trigger; medication-related admissions were adjudicated in 72% of these cases.
Hüner B, Derksen C, Schmiedhofer M, et al. Healthcare (Basel). 2022;10:97.
Labor and delivery units are high-risk care environments. Based on a retrospective review of obstetrical adverse events occurring at one German hospital in 2018, researchers created a matrix of preventable factors contributing to adverse events. Six categories of preventable events were identified (peripartum therapy delay; diagnostic error; inadequate maternal birth position; organizational errors; inadequate fetal monitoring; medication error) and 19 associated risk factors, including language barriers, missed diagnosis of a preexisting condition, and on-call duty.
Garfield S, Teo V, Chan L, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e257-e261.
In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced the third Global Patient Safety Challenge, Medication Without Harm. Interviews, focus groups, and document analysis were conducted at four UK hospitals to evaluate how they were addressing the domains and priority areas laid out in the WHO’s Patient Safety Challenge. Although all areas were addressed, additional focus is needed on patient and public involvement, transitions of care, and polypharmacy.
Sittig DF, Sengstack P, Singh H. JAMA. 2022;327:719-720.
Electronic health records (EHRs) serve an important role in clinical communication improvement while harboring threats to safety if not implemented and used correctly. This commentary discusses elements of a guidance package to enhance EHR safety through a 5-step assessment process.
Gunderson CG, Rodwin BA. J Hosp Med. 2022;Epub Jan 13.
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System estimated that medical errors contributed to 44,000 to 98,000 deaths in the US. This commentary argues the estimates included in the IOM and other studies are overestimated, and that patient safety advocates should shift the focus from estimating deaths due to medical error to preventing patient harm due to hospital-acquired infections, procedural complications, medication errors, and diagnostic errors  
Guo L, Ryan B, Leditschke IA, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jan 21.
Unprofessional behavior has been linked to medical errors, surgical complications, and other adverse events. This systematic review summarized the impact of unacceptable behavior related to clinical performance, quality of care, workplace productivity, or patient outcomes. The authors propose that future research should focus on interventions meant to reduce unacceptable behavior.

Delft University of Technology. Faculty Industrial Design Engineering. Delft, The Netherlands, November 2-4, 2022

Learning from the human factors community is a key strategy for system safety improvement. This conference, with the theme of Convergence - Breaking Down Barriers between Disciplines, will present sessions on topics such as patient safety, resilience engineering, and clinical decision making.

Rau J. Kaiser Health News. February 8, 2022. 

Rating systems face challenges to accurately represent the safety and quality of patient care. This article discusses inconsistent results between national rating systems and those organizations penalized by the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program though reduction of Medicare payments for hospitals recording certain adverse events.
Patient safety improvement has made progress but more can be done. This organization supports community efforts in the United States to engage policymakers in work toward aligning efforts to reduce preventable patient harm at a national level. It will build its efforts on the World Health Organization plan by moving forward with a framework to collaborate on a variety of strategies to enhance the safety of health care.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; February 2, 2022.

Weight-calculation errors can result in pediatric patient harm as they affect medication prescribing, dispensing, and administration accuracy. This report examines factors contributing to a computation mistake that resulted in a child receiving a 10-fold anticoagulant overdose over a 3-day period. Areas of focus for improvement include use of prescribing technology, and the double-check as an error barrier.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
John Landefeld, MD, MS, Sara Teasdale, MD, and Sharad Jain, MD |
A 65-year-old woman with a history of 50 pack-years of cigarette smoking presented to her primary care physician (PCP), concerned about lower left back pain; she was advised to apply ice and take ibuprofen. She returned to her PCP a few months later reporting persistent pain. A lumbar spine radiograph showed mild degenerative disc disease and the patient was prescribed hydrocodone/acetaminophen in addition to ibuprofen. In the following months, she was seen by video twice for progressive, more severe pain that limited her ability to walk. A year after the initial evaluation, the patient presented to the Emergency Department (ED) with severe pain. X-rays showed a 5 cm lesion in her lung, a small vertebral lesion and multiple lesions in her pelvic bones. A biopsy led to a diagnosis of lung cancer and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed metastases to the liver and bone, as well as multiple small fractures of the pelvic girdle. Given the extent of metastatic disease, the patient decided against aggressive treatment with curative intent and enrolled in hospice; she died of metastatic lung cancer 6 weeks after her enrollment in hospice. The commentary summarizes the ‘red flag’ symptoms associated with low back pain that should prompt expedited evaluation, the importance of lung cancer screening for patients with a history of heavy smoking, and how pain-related stigma can contribute to contentious interactions between providers and patients that can limit effective treatment.
WebM&M Cases
Nandakishor Kapa, M.D., and José A. Morfín, M.D. |
A 69-year-old man with End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) secondary to diabetes mellitus and hypertension, who had been on dialysis since 2014, underwent deceased donor kidney transplant. The case demonstrates the complex nature of management of allograft dysfunction due to vascular complications in a patient with deceased donor kidney transplant in the early post-transplant period. The commentary discusses how standardized follow-up imaging protocols can support early recognition and evaluation of allograft dysfunction due to vascular complications in kidney transplant recipients, as well the importance of team communication for patients requiring multiple interventions to reduce lag time in addressing further complications.
WebM&M Cases
Jane L. Erb, MD, Sejal B. Shah, MD and Gordon D. Schiff, MD |
An 18-year-old man with a history of untreated depression and suicide attempts (but no history of psychiatric hospitalizations) was seen in the ED for suicidal ideation after recent gun purchase. Due to suicidal ideation, he was placed on safety hold and a psychiatric consultation was requested. The psychiatry team recommended discharge with outpatient therapy; he was discharged with outpatient resources, the crisis hotline phone number, and strict return precautions. After two encounters with his primary care provider and another visit to the ED for suicidal ideation, the patient was found with a loaded gun in a hotel room. He was taken to the ED for a third time, where has was evaluated and involuntarily admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital for five weeks.  He was ultimately discharged with a diagnosis of “Bipolar 1 – moderate-severe with mixed features.” The commentary discusses the challenges of screening for suicide risk and the importance of continuity of care for patients at risk of self-harm and suicide.

This Month’s Perspectives

Interview
Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) are organizations dedicated to improving patient safety and healthcare quality that serve to collect and analyze data voluntarily reported by healthcare providers to promote learning. Federal confidentiality and privilege protections apply to certain information (defined as “patient safety work product”) developed when a healthcare provider works with a federally listed PSO under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 and its implementing regulation. AHRQ is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the PSO listing process. Based on their presentations at an AHRQ annual meeting, we spoke with representatives from two PSOs, Poonam Sharma, MD, MPH, the Senior Clinical Data Analyst at Atrium Health, and Rhonda Dickman, MSN, RN, CPHQ, the Director of the Tennessee Hospital Association PSO about how the unique circumstances surrounding care during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted patient safety risks in both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Perspective
This piece discusses patient safety challenges that arose as a result of the unique care circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly at the height of the pandemic in 2020. 
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