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March 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

Al-Ghunaim TA, Johnson J, Biyani CS, et al. Am J Surg. 2022;Epub Jan 4.
Burnout in healthcare providers has been linked to lower patient safety and increased adverse events. This systematic review examined studies focusing on the relationship between burnout and patient safety and professionalism in surgeons. Results indicate higher rates of burnout and emotional exhaustion were associated with an increased risk of involvement in medical error. Interventions to reduce burnout and improve surgeon well-being may result in improved patient safety.
Patel TK, Patel PB, Bhalla HL, et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2022;78:267-278.
Adverse drug events are common and often result in preventable patient harm. Based on 23 included studies from US and international settings, this meta-analysis estimated that drug-related deaths contributed to 5.6% of all inpatient hospital deaths. The authors estimated that almost half of drug-related deaths are preventable.
Ryser MD, Lange J, Inoue LYT, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2022;175:471-478.
Overdiagnosis of breast cancer can result in overtreatment and cause physical and emotional harm. Based on data from 35,986 women in a US-based breast cancer screening registry, this study estimates that15.4% of screen-detected cancers are overdiagnosed (i.e., detecting indolent preclinical cancer or detecting progressive preclinical cancer among women who would have died of unrelated causes before clinical diagnosis), which is higher than previous estimates. The authors suggest that data can improve shared decision-making between patients and physicians.
Cheng MKW, Collins S, Baron RB, et al. J Grad Med Educ. 2021;13:822-832.
The Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) program identified that resident involvement in interprofessional (IP) quality improvement and patient safety (QIPS) efforts was lacking and called for improvement. Interviews with residents, faculty, and staff were held to determine the status of IP QIPS in their hospital. Benefits (e.g., (learning about other professions), facilitators, and barriers to resident involvement and a positive clinical learning environment were identified.
Huang C, Barwise A, Soleimani J, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e454-e462.
Identifying and reducing diagnostic errors remains a critical patient safety concern. This prospective study asked clinicians if they perceived that a diagnostic error played a part in rapid response team activations or unplanned admissions to the intensive care unit. Clinicians reported that 18% of acute care patients experienced diagnostic errors.
Clift K, Macklin-Mantia S, Barnhorst M, et al. J Prim Care Community Health. 2022;13:215013192110697.
Knowing a patient’s individual risk factors for developing cancer can assist patients and providers in deciding when to screen for cancers and can prevent both overtreatment and delays in care. This study compared patient-reported family history of cancer in the electronic health record (EHR) and family history collected using a focused questionnaire. Results showed inconsistencies between the two, especially for patients with more complicated family histories.
Ryser MD, Lange J, Inoue LYT, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2022;175:471-478.
Overdiagnosis of breast cancer can result in overtreatment and cause physical and emotional harm. Based on data from 35,986 women in a US-based breast cancer screening registry, this study estimates that15.4% of screen-detected cancers are overdiagnosed (i.e., detecting indolent preclinical cancer or detecting progressive preclinical cancer among women who would have died of unrelated causes before clinical diagnosis), which is higher than previous estimates. The authors suggest that data can improve shared decision-making between patients and physicians.
Weiseth A, Plough A, Aggarwal R, et al. Birth. 2022;Epub Mar 1.
Labor and delivery is a high-risk care environment. This study evaluated a quality improvement initiative (TeamBirth) designed to promote shared decision-making and safety culture in labor and delivery. This mixed-methods study included both clinicians and patients at four hospitals and found that the program was feasible, increased the use of huddles, and had no negative effects on patient safety.
Mimmo L, Harrison R, Travaglia J, et al. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2022;64:314-322.
Children with intellectual disabilities may experience poor-quality care and be at higher risk for patient safety events. This cross-sectional study including patients admitted to two children’s hospitals in Australia found that children with intellectual disabilities had longer hospital stays and experienced more admissions with at least one clinical incident (e.g., medication incidents, documentation errors) compared to children without intellectual disabilities.
Yesmin T, Carter MW, Gladman AS. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:278.
Advanced technology – such as radiofrequency identification (RFID), sensors, or mobile apps – is increasingly used to improve patient safety. This study explored whether the use of “internet of things” (i.e., network of physical objects – “things” – that are embedded with sensors, software or other technology to connect and exchange data with other devices, such as RFID technology) is effective at reducing patient falls and improving hand-hygiene compliance.
Andersen TS, Gemmer MN, Sejberg HRC, et al. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2022;15:142.
Conducting a complete medication reconciliation in the emergency department may be difficult or even impossible if the patient is unable to speak for themselves. In these instances, clinicians must rely solely on electronic records of medication prescriptions, which do not always reflect the medications being taken. This analysis of prescriptions entered into the Danish Shared Medication Record (SMR) and patient reports of medications taken showed 81% of patients had at least one discrepancy, the most common of which was discontinued medications still showing in the SMR.
Butler JM, Gibson B, Schnock KO, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e563-e567.
Patient safety efforts increasingly seek patient input and engagement to improve care. In this qualitative study, patients and families reported on recent hospitalizations and their perceptions of their care and safety. Four main themes were elicited: (1) experiences with safety problems were not unusual, (2) patients and families developed “care stories” about their experiences, (3) there was a spectrum of trust between patients and providers, and (4) having someone advocate for them was important.
Wang E, Arnold S, Jones S, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2142382.
This study examined whether a full-integration approach to a hospital merger and acquisitions (consisting of early leadership integration, rapid transition to electronic health record systems, local ownership of quality metrics, dashboards featuring system goals and actional analytics, and use of value-based and analytic-driven interventions) improved patient outcomes. Compared to the situation pre-merger, findings show that in-hospital mortality and hospital-acquired infection rates were lower, while patient satisfaction were higher after the full-integration merger.
Logan‐Athmer AL. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;Epub Feb 28.
High reliability organizations (HROs) often operate in complex, hazardous conditions and have fewer adverse events. Based on qualitative interviews with organizational leaders and front-line supervisors, the researchers of this study identified seven themes relating to necessary leadership skillsets for HRO adoption – nonhierarchical leadership; transparent, continuous communication; deference to expertise; ability to innovate; motivation through recognition; self-reflection; and commitment to visibility.
Coates MC, Granche J, Sefcik JS, et al. Res Gerontol Nurs. 2022;15:69-75.
Older adults, especially those taking multiple medications, are at increased risk for medication self-administration (MSE) errors. Data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) was analyzed to ascertain if the source of the medication ­– picking up from local pharmacy, receiving the medication via mail-order pharmacy, or both ­– impacted MSE or hospitalization. Respondents receiving medications via both mail-order and pick up were more likely to report hospitalizations and medication mistakes.
Tewfik G, Naftalovich R, Kaushal N, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2022;128:e28-e32.
Adverse event reporting and tracking are essential components to safety improvement. This letter to the editor summarizes the barriers to accurate adverse event tracking in anesthesiology, including fear of blame or lack of education regarding the importance of identifying reportable events, and the role of Anesthesia Information Management Systems for improving incident reporting and tracking.

Montesantos L. Ann Health Law Life Sci. 2022;31(Spring):179-215.

Health information technologies (HIT) and advanced learning systems, if poorly designed, used, maintained, integrated, or accessed, harbor the potential for failure across the systems they support. This legal discussion argues for federal standards to establish levels of accountability for physicians who use HIT systems and assign liability, should use result in patient harm.
Read GJM, Shorrock S, Walker GH, et al. Ergonomics. 2021;64:1091-1114.
Human error can affect the safety of care delivery. This article provides an overview of human error, the theories and methods available to understand, prevent, and mitigate human error, and the role of ergonomics and human factors in reducing error.
Al-Ghunaim TA, Johnson J, Biyani CS, et al. Am J Surg. 2022;Epub Jan 4.
Burnout in healthcare providers has been linked to lower patient safety and increased adverse events. This systematic review examined studies focusing on the relationship between burnout and patient safety and professionalism in surgeons. Results indicate higher rates of burnout and emotional exhaustion were associated with an increased risk of involvement in medical error. Interventions to reduce burnout and improve surgeon well-being may result in improved patient safety.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices. April 6, 2022. 

Drug diversion can result in patient harm due to reduced medication availability, impaired clinician performance, and loss of trust. This webinar discussed the impact of drug diversion at a system level and outlined steps an organization can take to minimize this risk through workplace health strategies and stewardship programs.

Washington, DC: VA Office of the Inspector General;  February 17, 2022. Report No. 21-01506-76.

Patient suicide is a reoccurring sentinel event that is a challenge for the veteran’s health care community. This report shares the results of 36 unplanned inspections at United States Veterans Affairs facilities. While the inspections found general guidance compliance to be in place, weaknesses in required patient follow-up, staff training and outreach activities were flagged as areas in need of targeted improvement to enhance patient safety.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; February 17, 2022.

Pre-hospital emergency care can be vulnerable to timing, information, and task failures that compromise safety. This investigation explores how computerized decision support system access played a roles in an emergency call-center program incident where erroneous information was transmitted to a pregnant patient that contributed to infant harm.

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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