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March 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

Hamad DM, Mandell SP, Stewart RM, et al. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;92:473-480.
By analyzing errors that lead to preventable or potentially preventable deaths in trauma care, healthcare organizations can develop mitigation strategies to prevent those errors from reoccurring. This study classified events anonymously reported by trauma centers using the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations Patient Safety Event Taxonomy. Mitigation strategies were most often low-level, person-focused (e.g., education and training).
Oliver JB, Kunac A, McFarlane JL, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;157:211-219.
Physician autonomy is an important component to medical training, but carries risks to patient safety. This retrospective cohort study used VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) data from July 2004 through September 2019 to examine resident operative autonomy impacts patient outcomes. Findings indicate that surgical procedures performed by residents alone were not associated with higher rates of mortality or morbidity compared to procedures performed with the assistance of attending surgeons or by attending surgeons alone.
Vollam S, Gustafson O, Morgan L, et al. Crit Care Med. 2022;Epub Mar 7.
This mixed-method study explored the reasons why out-of-hours discharges from the ICU to the ward, and nighttime coverage are associated with poor outcomes. Based on qualitative interviews with patients, family members, and staff involved in the ICU discharge process, this study found that out-of-hours discharges are considered unsafe due to nighttime staffing levels and skill mix. Out-of-hours discharges often occurred prematurely, without adequate handovers, and involved patients who were not physiologically stable, and at risk for clinical deterioration.
Oliver JB, Kunac A, McFarlane JL, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;157:211-219.
Physician autonomy is an important component to medical training, but carries risks to patient safety. This retrospective cohort study used VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP) data from July 2004 through September 2019 to examine resident operative autonomy impacts patient outcomes. Findings indicate that surgical procedures performed by residents alone were not associated with higher rates of mortality or morbidity compared to procedures performed with the assistance of attending surgeons or by attending surgeons alone.
Forrester JD, Maggio PM, Tennakoon L. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e477-e479.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) result in poorer patient outcomes and increased costs. The 2016 national data set of five common HAIs (surgical site infections, catheter- and line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associate urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and Clostridioides difficile) was analyzed to create an estimated national cost. Clostridioides difficile was the most frequently reported; Clostridioides difficile and surgical site infections accounted for 79% of costs.
Hamad DM, Mandell SP, Stewart RM, et al. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;92:473-480.
By analyzing errors that lead to preventable or potentially preventable deaths in trauma care, healthcare organizations can develop mitigation strategies to prevent those errors from reoccurring. This study classified events anonymously reported by trauma centers using the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations Patient Safety Event Taxonomy. Mitigation strategies were most often low-level, person-focused (e.g., education and training).
Shafer GJ, Singh H, Thomas EJ, et al. J Perinatol. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at risk for serious patient safety threats. In this retrospective review of 600 consecutive inborn NICU admissions, researchers found that the frequency of diagnostic errors among inborn NICU patients during the first seven days of admission was 6.2%.
Watterson TL, Stone JA, Gilson A, et al. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2022;22:50.
The CancelRx system is a health information technology-based intervention intended to mitigate the challenges of communicating medication discontinuation. Using secondary data from the electronic health record (EHR) system of a midwestern academic health system, researchers found that implementing the CancelRx system resulted in a significant increase in successful medication discontinuations for controlled substances.
Latimer S, Hewitt J, de Wet C, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2022;Epub Mar 6.
Medication reconciliation at hospital discharge has become a mainstay of patient safety efforts with most of the focus on pharmacist involvement. Focus groups of hospital nurses were conducted to elicit their perspectives on their role in medication reconciliation. Three themes emerged: nurses' role involves chasing, checking, and educating; burden of undertaking medication reconciliation at hospital discharge; team collaboration and communication in medication reconciliation.
Vollam S, Gustafson O, Morgan L, et al. Crit Care Med. 2022;Epub Mar 7.
This mixed-method study explored the reasons why out-of-hours discharges from the ICU to the ward, and nighttime coverage are associated with poor outcomes. Based on qualitative interviews with patients, family members, and staff involved in the ICU discharge process, this study found that out-of-hours discharges are considered unsafe due to nighttime staffing levels and skill mix. Out-of-hours discharges often occurred prematurely, without adequate handovers, and involved patients who were not physiologically stable, and at risk for clinical deterioration.
Damoiseaux-Volman BA, Raven K, Sent D, et al. Age Ageing. 2022;51:afab205.
According to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study, an estimated 700,000 to 1 million hospitalized patients fall each year. This study assessed the impact of potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) on falls in older adults and compared the impact of three deprescribing tools on inpatient falls. PIMs identified by section K of the Screening Tool of Older Persons' Prescriptions (STOPP) had the strongest association with inpatient falls.
Mahomedradja RF, van den Beukel TO, van den Bos M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2022;22:35.
The potential for medication errors may increase due to redeployment and reorganization of hospital resources during COVID-19 surges. In this study of patients hospitalized during the first wave of the pandemic, over 90% had at least one prescribing error three months after hospitalization. Intensive care unit admission and a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma were risk factors for prescribing errors. Acknowledging and understanding these risk factors allows hospital leadership to target interventions for this population.
Wieringa S, Neves AL, Rushforth A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 8.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased the use of telehealth, including remote primary care triage and assessment. This qualitative study explored patients’ and clinicians’ experiences managing suspected COVID-19 during remote triage and assessment. Findings highlight the need to strengthen organizational resilience, develop and implement triage decision support tools, and address vulnerable and unsupported groups (e.g., the elderly, vulnerable and homebound patients).
Amalberti R, Staines A, Vincent CA. Int J Qual Health Care. 2022;34:mzac006.
Leadership engagement is key to achieving patient safety goals. When it comes to improvement and innovation, healthcare organizations must balance multiple, sometimes conflicting, aims, such as cost, clinician wellbeing, and patient safety. This commentary outlines how healthcare organizations can manage multiple complex aims in relation to improvement and innovation projects. Four principles of managing multiple aims and five key strategies for practical action are described.
Shah RK, Reinhart R, Cronin J. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2022;55:105-113.
Experts have advocated the importance of establishing the business case for safety. This article summarizes approaches to establishing the business case for safety through the use of telehealth case-based vignettes as examples. The authors discuss challenges for establishing a business case for safety and future directions.
Stephens S. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;41:17-26.
Effective incident reporting systems play an essential role in identifying and mitigating patient safety threats. This article discusses the need for a standardized approach to incident report analysis and how qualitative content analysis can support incident analysis and help identify risk mitigation strategies, performance improvement initiatives, and educational opportunities for healthcare workers. 
Pronovost PJ, Cole MD, Hughes RM. JAMA. 2022;327:1125-1126.
The COVID pandemic has increased demand and acceptance of remote care modalities. This commentary suggests that home monitoring is a promising telehealth approach and that its application could improve value while enhancing safety for hospital-at-home and other levels of home-based care patients.
Marshall TL, Rinke ML, Olson APJ, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;149:e2020045948D.
Reducing diagnostic errors in pediatric care remains a critical area of research and quality improvement. This narrative review presents the incidence and epidemiology of pediatric diagnostic error and strategies for additional innovative research to develop effective interventions to reduce these errors.
Irons MW, Auta A, Portlock JC, et al. Home Health Care Serv Q. 2022;41:91-123.
Care home residents experience high rates of medication errors. Thirty-two articles about medication errors in UK care homes were included in this review. Articles covered causes, rates, recommendations, and/or evaluation of interventions on error rates. The authors recommend development of more robust strategies for evaluating medication errors in care homes.
No results.

Blythe A. NC Health News. March 10, 2022

Patient harm in dentistry is receiving increased attention and scrutiny. This story covers a medication incident and the lack of safety support that contributed to the death of a patient receiving oral surgery. It discusses the response of the patient’s family and their work to change regulations for dental sedation.

Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationMarch 2, 2022.

The impact of nursing home inspections to ensure the quality and safety of the service environment is lacking. Weaknesses in the process became more explicit as poor long-term care infection control was determined to be a contributor to the early spread of COVID amongst nursing home residents. This announcement outlines a targeted inspection initiative to assess whether organizations previously sited have made progress toward improving workforce safety.
Special or Theme Issue

Keebler JR, Salas E, Rosen MA, et al. eds. Hum Factors. 2022;64(1):5-258.

Human factors concepts are central to improvement in high-risk industries and efforts are emerging to enfold them into health care organizations to improve safety. This special issue explores themes that underscore successful application of human factors practices into healthcare: culture change toward high reliability, team improvement, technology integration, and measures development.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2022. 

The recognition of diagnosis as a team activity is energizing new diagnostic process initiatives. Building on the established TeamSTEPPS® principles, this new TeamSTEPPS course includes seven training modules, team and knowledge assessment tools, and implementation guidance to develop or enhance communication across the care team to improve the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosis.

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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