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March 9, 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

Katz MJ, Tamma PD, Cosgrove SE, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(2):e220181.

Overuse of antibiotics has been common in nursing homes; therefore, antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) have been emphasized by experts. To assist facilities, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use developed programs and a toolkit to improve the appropriate use of antibiotics. This quality improvement program found that a focused educational initiative to establish ASPs in nursing homes was associated with reduction in antibiotic use in those facilities with high levels of engagement.
Mullur J, Chen Y-C, Wickner PG, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e431-e438.
COVID-19 restrictions and patient safety concerns have greatly expanded the use of telehealth and virtual visits. Through patient satisfaction surveys and patient complaints, this US hospital evaluated the quality and safety of virtual visits in March and April of 2020. Five patient complaints were submitted during this timeframe and overall patient satisfaction remained high. Safety and quality risks were identified (e.g., diagnostic error) and best practices were established.
Pérez Zapata AI, Rodríguez Cuéllar E, de la Fuente Bartolomé M, et al. Patient Saf Surg. 2022;16:7.
Trigger tools are one method of retrospectively detecting adverse events. In this study, researchers used data from 31 Spanish hospitals to validate a trigger tool in general and gastrointestinal surgery departments. Of 40 triggers, 12 were identified for optimizing predictive power of the trigger tool, including broad spectrum antibiotherapy, unscheduled postoperative radiology, and reintervention.
Mullur J, Chen Y-C, Wickner PG, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e431-e438.
COVID-19 restrictions and patient safety concerns have greatly expanded the use of telehealth and virtual visits. Through patient satisfaction surveys and patient complaints, this US hospital evaluated the quality and safety of virtual visits in March and April of 2020. Five patient complaints were submitted during this timeframe and overall patient satisfaction remained high. Safety and quality risks were identified (e.g., diagnostic error) and best practices were established.
Dennison S, Freeman M, Giannotti N, et al. Nurse Educ. 2022;Epub Feb 2.
Reporting medication errors and near misses should be taught to prelicensure nursing students but is not always included in nursing programs. This quality improvement project focused on the near-miss medication error reporting by student nurses. The authors found that dosing errors were 81% of the incidents, but there were multiple contributing factors including communication, competency and education, environmental and human limitations, and policies and procedures. The findings can be helpful to other nursing programs to refocus education on medication errors to areas were students have problems.

Katz MJ, Tamma PD, Cosgrove SE, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(2):e220181.

Overuse of antibiotics has been common in nursing homes; therefore, antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) have been emphasized by experts. To assist facilities, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use developed programs and a toolkit to improve the appropriate use of antibiotics. This quality improvement program found that a focused educational initiative to establish ASPs in nursing homes was associated with reduction in antibiotic use in those facilities with high levels of engagement.
Dorken Gallastegi A, Mikdad S, Kapoen C, et al. J Surg Res. 2022;274:185-195.
While interoperative deaths (IODs) are rare, they are catastrophic events. This study analyzed five years of data on IODs from a large academic medical center. The authors describe three phenotypes: patients with traumatic injury, those undergoing non-trauma-related emergency surgery, and patients who die during an elective procedure from medical cardiac arrests or vascular injuries. This classification framework can serve as a foundation for future research or quality improvement processes.
Zheng MY, Lui H, Patino G, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e401-e406.
California law requires adverse events that led to serious injury or death because of hospital noncompliance to be reported to the state licensing agency. These events are referred to as “immediate jeopardy.” Using publicly available data, this study analyzed all immediate jeopardy cases between 2007 and 2017. Of the 385 immediate jeopardy cases, 36.6% led to patient death, and the most common category was surgical.
Etheridge JC, Moyal-Smith R, Sonnay Y, et al. Int J Surg. 2022;98:106210.
Non-technical skills such as communication, teamwork, decision-making, and situational awareness are responsible for a significant proportion of surgical errors. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the stress in the operating room, associated with increased risk of exposure and shortage of resources. This study compared pre- and post-COVID direct observations during live operations and found that non-technical skills were equivalent; there was a small, but statistically significant, improvement in teamwork and cooperation skills.
Fischer H, Hahn EE, Li BH, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:222-232.
While falls are common in older adults, there was a 31% increase in death due to falls in the U.S. from 2007-2016, partially associated with the increase in older adults in the population. This mixed methods study looked at the prevalence, risk factors, and contributors to potentially harmful medication dispensed after a fall/fracture of patients using the Potentially Harmful Drug-Disease Interactions in the Elderly (HEDIS DDE) codes. There were 113,809 patients with a first time fall; 35.4% had high-risk medications dispensed after their first fall. Interviews with 22 physicians identified patient reluctance to report falls and inconsistent assessment, and documentation of falls made it challenging to consider falls when prescribing medications.
Pérez Zapata AI, Rodríguez Cuéllar E, de la Fuente Bartolomé M, et al. Patient Saf Surg. 2022;16:7.
Trigger tools are one method of retrospectively detecting adverse events. In this study, researchers used data from 31 Spanish hospitals to validate a trigger tool in general and gastrointestinal surgery departments. Of 40 triggers, 12 were identified for optimizing predictive power of the trigger tool, including broad spectrum antibiotherapy, unscheduled postoperative radiology, and reintervention.
Nguyen OT, Hong Y-R, Alishahi Tabriz A, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2022;13:242-251.
The 21st Century Cures Act mandates that most health care organizations provide patients access to their health record upon request. Using survey data collected just prior to implementation of the Cures Act, researchers found approximately 6.5% of patients requested changes to errors identified in their health records. Patients who reported frequent visits to their online portal and patients who reported entering data into the portal had greater odds of requesting a correction.
Shah AS, Hollingsworth EK, Shotwell MS, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1180-1189.
Medication reconciliations, including conducting a best possible medication history (BPMH), may occur multiple times during a hospital stay, especially at admission and discharge. By conducting BPMH analysis of 372 hospitalized older adults taking at least 5 medications at admission, researchers found that nearly 90% had at least one discrepancy. Lower age, total prehospital medication count, and admission from a non-home setting were statistically associated with more discrepancies.
Nehls N, Yap TS, Salant T, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001603.
Incomplete or delayed referrals from primary care providers to specialty care can cause diagnostic delays and patient harm. A systems engineering analysis was conducted to identify vulnerabilities in the referral process and develop a framework to close the loop between primary and specialty care. Low reliability processes, such as workarounds, were identified and human factors approaches were recommended to improve successful referral rates.
Zomerlei T, Carraher A, Chao A, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manage. 2021;26:221-224.
Failure to communicate abnormal test results to patients can lead to significant health complications and medical malpractice claims. This study aimed to increase patient engagement in asking their provider about previously obtained diagnostic test results. Reminders to follow up with their provider about test results were sent to the patient via the after-visit summary and patient portal. Patients receiving reminders were up to 20 times more likely to ask their providers about their test results, compared to patients who did not receive reminders.
Wyner D, Wyner F, Brumbaugh D, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2021053091.
The dismissal of parental concerns is a known contributor to medical errors in children. This story illustrates how poor communication, lack of respect, and anchoring bias  contributed to failure in the care of a boy. The authors share actions being taken by the hospital involved in the tragedy to partner with the family to improve diagnosis practices throughout their organization.
Schust G, Manning M, Weil A. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;Epub Jan 28.
The OpenNotes concept is positioned  to increase patient engagement in their care through error correction and communication enhancement. This commentary highlights concerns associated with privacy involving certain conditions and patient groups that participate in open notes programs. The authors provide recommendations to ensure safety while enabling effective information sharing with all patient populations.
Schulman PR. J Contingencies Crisis Manage. 2022;30:92-101.
High reliability organizations (HROs) are those that operate in highly complex domains, such as aviation, with no or very few significant errors. This commentary describes the relationship between error and uncertainty in HROs using the increased uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as an example.
Iedema R. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:234-237.
Patients and families impacted by preventable adverse events frequently share their stories when advocating for safety improvements. The author of this commentary urges healthcare, patient safety, and quality improvement professionals to listen to patient safety stories, not just as technical information, but as behavioral challenges.
Syrowatka A, Song W, Amato MG, et al. Lancet Digit Health. 2022;4:e137-e148.
The near ubiquitous use of electronic health records has increased interest in using artificial intelligence (AI) to detect errors, including preventable adverse drug events (ADEs). This scoping review identified 78 studies of AI conducted since 1998, and identified promising areas where AI could be used to predict (e.g., therapeutic response) or detect (e.g., medication prescribing errors) patient harm. 

ECRI, Thomas Jefferson University's College of Population Health, College of Health Professions, and the School of Design and Engineering. March 15, 2022; April 19, 2022; May 17, 2022. 12:30-1:30 PM (eastern).

The complexity of health care delivery requires solutions designed with daily practice workflow in mind to reduce the need for individual resilience and work-arounds to ensure safe care. This three-session workshop will examine how design thinking can be coupled with human factors engineering to reduce challenges to safety and patient-centeredness.

Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization and International Labour Organization; 2022. ISBN 9789240040779.

Workforce well-being emerged as a key component of patient safety during the COVID-19 crisis. This report supplies international perspectives for informing the establishment of national regulations and organization-based programs to strengthen efforts aiming to develop health industry workforce health and safety strategies.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. February 24, 2022; 27(4):1-5; March 10, 2022; 27(5):1-5.

Disrespect for co-workers, peers, and patients degrades safety in the care environment. Part I of this article series summarizes results from a 2021 survey as the latest installment of a long-standing examination of the prevalence of disrespectful behaviors. The results found that poor behaviors are common, a wide array of  unprofessional behaviors are encountered in the workplace, and how they affect safety. Part II shares strategies to decrease the presence and impact of disrespectful behaviors in health care which include creation of confidential reporting systems and support structures.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Katrina Pasao, MD and Pouria Kashkouli, MD, MS |
This Spotlight Case describes an older man incidentally diagnosed with prostate cancer, with metastases to the bone. He was seen in clinic one month after that discharge, without family present, and scheduled for outpatient biopsy. He showed up to the biopsy without adequate preparation and so it was rescheduled. He did not show up to the following four oncology appointments. Over the course of the following year, the patient’s son and daughter were contacted at various points to re-establish care, but he continued to miss scheduled appointments and treatments. During a hospital admission, a palliative care team determined that the patient did not have capacity to make complex medical decisions. He was discharged to a skilled nursing facility, and then to a board and care when he failed to improve. He missed two more oncology appointments before being admitted with cancer-related pain. Based on the patient’s poor functional status, he was not considered a candidate for additional therapy. After a discussion of goals of care with the patient and daughter, he was enrolled in hospice. The commentary outlines key elements for assessing patient capacity, the importance of understanding the patient’s psychosocial history, and strategies to strengthen psychosocial training for medical and nursing trainees.
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.

This Month’s Perspectives

Annual Perspective
A psychologically safe environment for healthcare teams is desirable for optimal team performance, team member well-being, and favorable patient safety outcomes. This piece explores facilitators of and barriers to psychological safety across healthcare settings. Future research directions examining psychological safety in healthcare are discussed.
Annual Perspective
Errors in medication management and administration are major threats to patient safety. This piece explores issues with opioid and nursing-sensitive medication safety as well as medication safety in older adults. Future research directions in medication safety are also discussed.
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