Skip to main content

February 23, 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

Dekhtyar M, Park YS, Kalinyak J, et al. Diagnosis. (Berl). 2022;9:69-76.
Standardized and virtual patient encounters are often used to develop medical and nursing students’ diagnostic reasoning. Through educational interventions including virtual patients, medical students increased their diagnostic accuracy compared to baseline and the completeness and efficiency in the differential diagnosis increased.
Hartstein B, Munante M, Toor PA. NEJM Catalyst. 2022;3:e1-e20.
High-reliability organizations (HROs) are able to “manage the unexpected” while operating under challenging conditions. This article describes the U.S. Medical Department’s systemwide rollout of the Top Six HRO communication practices. The authors summarize how the Top Six campaign was developed and discuss the implementation of six systemwide initiatives to increase reliability – (1) daily safety briefings; (2) safety leadership rounds; (3) unit-based huddles; (4) Situation Background Assessment Recommendation (SBAR) for communication; (5) briefs and debriefs for surgical cases; and (6) Universal Protocol before every procedure.
Redley B, Douglas T, Hoon L, et al. Int J Nurs Stud. 2022;127:104178.
Nurses have a significant impact on patient safety. This integrative review of clinical practice guidelines identified 6 themes representing nursing care strategies to manage risk and prevent harm – (1) detect risk or early change, (2) act early to prevent deterioration, (3) identify and treat underlying conditions, (4) grade escalation of care, (5) provide a safe care environment, and (6) engage patient and care partners. These findings highlight the complexity of nursing work and illustrate strategies that nurse leaders can integrate into local practice to improve safe care.

Giannetta N, Dionisi S, Villa G, et al. Acta Biomed. 2021;92(S2):e2021503.

Research to identify ways to decrease medication errors and adverse drug events has increased over the years. This novel study assessing ClinicalTrials.gov identified the prevalence of registered studies with the primary outcome of medication errors. Less than 2% of registered studies focused on interventions to reduce adverse drug events.
Coen M, Sader J, Junod-Perron N, et al. Intern Emerg Med. 2022;Epub Jan 9.
The uncertainty and pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic can introduce cognitive biases leading to diagnostic errors. Researchers asked primary care providers taking care of COVID-19 adult patients to describe cases when their clinical reasoning was “disrupted” due to the pandemic. The most common cognitive biases were anchoring bias, confirmation bias, availability bias, and cognitive dissonance.
Lombardi J, Strobel S, Pullar V, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Feb 10.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed healthcare delivery and has raised new patient safety concerns. This retrospective study investigated the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on patient safety incidents at one health system in Ontario, Canada. Researchers identified significant changes in the composition of events – such as increase in falls – which may reflect changes in care processes (e.g., reduced patient surveillance, use of personal protective equipment) occurring during that time.
Labrague LJ, Santos JAA, Fronda DC. J Nurs Manag. 2022;30:62-70.
Missed or incomplete nursing care can adversely affect care quality and safety. Based on survey responses from 295 frontline nurses in the Philippines, this study explored factors contributing to missed nursing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings suggest that nurses most frequently missed tasks such as patient surveillance, comforting patients, skin care, ambulation, and oral hygiene. The authors suggest that increasing nurse staffing, adequate use of personal protective equipment, and improved safety culture may reduce instances of missed care.  
Long JA, Webster CS, Holliday T, et al. Simul Healthc. 2022;17:e38-e44.
Simulation training is a valuable tool to improve patient care. In this study, researchers explored latent safety threats identified during multidisciplinary simulation-based team training delivered to 21 hospitals in New Zealand. Common latent threats were related to knowledge and skills, team factors, task- or technology-related factors, and work environment threats.
Berntsson K, Eliasson M, Beckman L. BMC Nurs. 2022;21:24.
Safe and accurate telephone triage is of critical importance, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Swedish study evaluated district nurses’ experiences and perceptions of patient safety at a national nurse advice triage call center. Interviews with nurses resulted in an overall theme of “being able to make the right decision” based on the categories of “communication” and “assessment.”
Hartstein B, Munante M, Toor PA. NEJM Catalyst. 2022;3:e1-e20.
High-reliability organizations (HROs) are able to “manage the unexpected” while operating under challenging conditions. This article describes the U.S. Medical Department’s systemwide rollout of the Top Six HRO communication practices. The authors summarize how the Top Six campaign was developed and discuss the implementation of six systemwide initiatives to increase reliability – (1) daily safety briefings; (2) safety leadership rounds; (3) unit-based huddles; (4) Situation Background Assessment Recommendation (SBAR) for communication; (5) briefs and debriefs for surgical cases; and (6) Universal Protocol before every procedure.
Dekhtyar M, Park YS, Kalinyak J, et al. Diagnosis. (Berl). 2022;9:69-76.
Standardized and virtual patient encounters are often used to develop medical and nursing students’ diagnostic reasoning. Through educational interventions including virtual patients, medical students increased their diagnostic accuracy compared to baseline and the completeness and efficiency in the differential diagnosis increased.
Jones MD, Clarke J, Feather C, et al. Ann Pharmacother. 2021;55:1333-1340.
Medication errors during pediatric resuscitation are common. Using video recordings of simulated pediatric resuscitations, the researchers explored deviations in care related to the delivery of intravenous medicine. Findings suggest that deviations play a crucial role in intravenous medication administration errors, and deviations were more likely to occur during the use of an online injectable medicine guideline.
Fleisher LA, Schreiber M, Cardo D, et al. N Engl J Med. 2022;386:609-611.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of health care. This commentary discusses its impact on patient safety. The authors discuss how the pandemic response dismantled strategies put in place to prevent healthcare-associated infections and falls, and stressors placed on both patients and healthcare workers directed attention away from ongoing safety improvement efforts. They argue that more resilience needs to be built into the system to ensure safety efforts are sustainable in challenging times.
Cribb A, O'Hara JK, Waring J. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:327-330.
Patient safety advocates recommend a shift from a blame culture to a just culture. This commentary describes three types of justice that exist in healthcare - retributive, no blame or qualified blame, and restorative. The authors invite debate around the concept of just culture and its role in the “real world”.
Harrington L. AACN Adv Crit Care. 2021;32:375-380.
The usability of health information technology, such as electronic health records (EHR), continues to present a patient safety risk. This commentary describes usability issues such as nurses’ cognitive burden (e.g., non-intuitive EHR design) and system malfunctions (e.g., clinical decision support alerts fire for wrong patients). The author recommends that research and resources should focus on simplifying, integrating, and automating data collection.
Ito A, Sato K, Yumoto Y, et al. Nurs Open. 2021;9:467-489.
Ensuring that healthcare workers feel comfortable speaking up about concerns – also known as psychological safety – is an essential component of patient safety. This concept analysis identified five attributes of psychological safety in healthcare settings – (1) perceptions of consequences related to taking interpersonal risks; (2) strong interpersonal relationships; (3) group-level phenomenon; (4) safe work environments supporting interpersonal risks and (5) non-punitive culture.
Vela MB, Erondu AI, Smith NA, et al. Annu Rev Public Health. 2022;43.
Implicit biases among healthcare providers can contribute to poor decision-making and impede safe, effective care. This systematic review assessed the efficacy of interventions designed to reduce explicit and implicit biases among healthcare providers and students. The researchers found that many interventions can increase awareness of implicit biases among participants, but no intervention achieved sustained reduction of implicit biases. The authors propose a conceptual model illustrating interactions between structural determinants (e.g., social determinants of health, language concordance, biased learning environments) and provider implicit bias.
Redley B, Douglas T, Hoon L, et al. Int J Nurs Stud. 2022;127:104178.
Nurses have a significant impact on patient safety. This integrative review of clinical practice guidelines identified 6 themes representing nursing care strategies to manage risk and prevent harm – (1) detect risk or early change, (2) act early to prevent deterioration, (3) identify and treat underlying conditions, (4) grade escalation of care, (5) provide a safe care environment, and (6) engage patient and care partners. These findings highlight the complexity of nursing work and illustrate strategies that nurse leaders can integrate into local practice to improve safe care.
Chaudhry NT, Franklin BD, Mohammed S, et al. Pharmacy (Basel). 2021;9:198.
Data that is collected for clinical care and then reused to improve quality of patient care is referred to as secondary use of data (SUD). This review identified enablers and barriers to successful use of SUD to improve medication safety. The authors developed an integrated framework to describe the processes, mechanisms, and barriers for SUD.
No results.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. April 2022 – October 2023

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a persistent challenge in hospitals. This project will support the implementation of targeted hospital-acquired infection prevention initiatives building on the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) concept. The cohort that is focused on intensive care units and acute care is currently recruiting participants. Cohorts devoted to surgical services and long-term care will begin enrolling members later in 2022.

Fed Register. February 10, 2022;87: 7838-7840.

The 2016 Centers for Disease Control opioid guidelines have raised concerns as to their potential to contribute to patient harm. This announcement calls for comments from the field to inform and update current policy in response to safety issues that emerged as unintended consequences of the 2016 recommendation. Comments are due to be submitted by April 11, 2022.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. February 10, 2022:27(3):1-6.

Best practices evolve over time, given experience and evidence associated with their use. This article summarizes 3 new areas of focus included in current recommendations for sustaining medication safety. The new practices focus on improving the safety of oxytocin use, enhancing vaccine administration through bar coding, and implementing multifocal efforts to reduce high-alert medication errors. A survey accompanies the article to gather data on the presence of the new recommendations in the field. 

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. 
Stay Updated!
PSNet highlights the latest patient safety literature, news, and expert commentary, including Weekly Updates, WebM&M, and Perspectives on Safety. Sign up today to get weekly and monthly updates via emails!