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April 20, 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

Bernstein SL, Catchpole K, Kelechi TJ, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Maternal morbidity and mortality continues to be a significant patient safety problem. This mixed-methods study identified system-level factors affecting registered nurses during care of people in labor experiencing clinical deterioration. Task overload, missing or inadequate tools and technology, and a crowded physical environment were all identified as performance obstacles. Improving nurse workload and involving nurses in the redesign of tools and technology could provide a meaningful way to reduce maternal morbidity.
Lohmeyer Q, Schiess C, Wendel Garcia PD, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 8.
Tall Man lettering (TML) is a recommended strategy to reduce look-alike or sound-alike medication errors. This simulation study used eye tracking to investigate how of ‘tall man lettering’ impacts medication administration tasks. The researchers found that TML of prelabeled syringes led to a significant decrease in misidentified syringes and improved visual attention.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2022. ISBN: 9780309686259

Nursing homes face significant patient safety challenges, and these challenges became more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report identifies key issues in the delivery of care for nursing home residents and provides recommendations to strengthen the quality and safety of care delivery, such as improved working conditions, enhanced minimum staffing standards, improving quality measurement, and strengthening emergency preparedness.
Khansa I, Pearson GD. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2022;10:e4203.
Some clinicians experience profound emotional distress following an adverse event, known as the “second victim” phenomenon. This study of surgical residents in the US found that most residents who reported being part of a medical error had subsequent emotional distress, including guilt, anxiety, and insomnia. Importantly, while three quarters of residents reported they did not get emotional support following the event, all those who did get support reported benefiting from it.
Cucchiaro SÉ, Princen F, Goreux JË, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2022;34:mzac014.
Patient satisfaction surveys, unexpected event reports and patient complaints can each be used to improve patient safety. This radiotherapy service combined the three sources to make improvements in safety and quality. Results highlighted areas of strength (e.g., physical healing, kindness) and areas to improve (e.g., scheduling, comfort). Involving the patient in this way could lead to improvements in quality and safety.
Yale S, Cohen S, Bordini BJ. Crit Care Clin. 2022;38:185-194.
A broad differential diagnosis can limit missed diagnostic opportunities. This article outlines how diagnostic timeouts, which are intended reduce bias during the identification of differential diagnoses, can improve diagnosis and reduce errors.
Fitzgerald KM, Banerjee TR, Starmer AJ, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2022;7:e539.
I-PASS is a structured handoff tool designed to improve communication between teams at change-of-shift or between care settings. This children’s hospital implemented an I-PASS program to improve communication between attending physicians and safety culture. One year after the program was introduced, all observed handoffs included all five elements of I-PASS and the duration of handoff did not change. Additionally, the “handoff and transition score” on the Agency for Healthcare Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture improved.
Lohmeyer Q, Schiess C, Wendel Garcia PD, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 8.
Tall Man lettering (TML) is a recommended strategy to reduce look-alike or sound-alike medication errors. This simulation study used eye tracking to investigate how of ‘tall man lettering’ impacts medication administration tasks. The researchers found that TML of prelabeled syringes led to a significant decrease in misidentified syringes and improved visual attention.
Tham N, Fazio T, Johnson D, et al. World J Surg. 2022;46:1249-1258.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to changes in infection control and prevention measures to limit nosocomial spread. This retrospective cohort study found that escalations in infection prevention and control practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the incidence of other hospital-acquired infections among surgical patients at one Australian hospital. The authors posit that this may be due to high compliance with existing infection prevention and control practices pre-pandemic.
Martin K, Bickle K, Lok J. Int J Mental Health Nurs. 2022;Epub Mar 30.
Cognitive biases can compromise decision making and contribute to poor care. In this study, nurses were provided two patient vignettes as well as associated clinical notes written using either biased or neutral language and asked to make clinical decisions regarding PRN (“as needed”) medication administration for sleep. The study identified a relationship between biased language and clinical decision-making (such as omitting patient education when administering PRN medications).
Nowak B, Schwendimann R, Lyrer P, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:2796.
Diagnostic error and misdiagnosis of stroke patients can lead to preventable adverse events, such as treatment delays and adverse outcomes. Researchers at a Swiss hospital retrospective reviewed patients admitted for transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ischemic stroke and found that a trigger tool could accurately identify preventable events among patients with adverse events and no-harm incidents. The most common preventable events were medication events, pressure injuries, and healthcare-associated infections.
Reijmerink IM, Bos K, Leistikow IP, et al. Br J Surg. 2022;Epub Apr 4.
Organizational, environmental, and work-related factors can contribute to performance variations and human error during healthcare delivery. This study examined perioperative sentinel events reported to a Dutch database over a one-year period. It found that although performance variability continued in almost all events, it was rarely explicitly mentioned in incident reports or represented in resulting improvement measures. The authors suggest that explicitly addressing performance variability in sentinel event analyses can lead to more effective improvement measures that account for human performance in healthcare.
Casalino LP, Li J, Peterson LE, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2022;41:549-556.
Physician burnout has been associated with higher rates of self-reported medical errors and increased costs related to physician turnover. This analysis linked survey data from family physicians to Medicare claims to explore any association of burnout with four objective measures of care outcomes (ambulatory care-sensitive admissions, ambulatory care-sensitive emergency department visits, readmissions, or costs). There was no consistent, statistically significant relationship between burnout and the four measures of care outcomes and further research on this relationship is warranted.
El Abd A, Schwab C, Clementz A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:230-236.
Older adults are at high risk for 30-day unplanned hospital readmission. This study identified patient-level risk factors among patients 75 years or older who were initially hospitalized for fall-related injuries. Risk factors included being a male, abnormal concentration of C-reactive protein, and anemia. Discharge programs targeting these patients could reduce 30-day unplanned readmissions.
Bernstein SL, Catchpole K, Kelechi TJ, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Maternal morbidity and mortality continues to be a significant patient safety problem. This mixed-methods study identified system-level factors affecting registered nurses during care of people in labor experiencing clinical deterioration. Task overload, missing or inadequate tools and technology, and a crowded physical environment were all identified as performance obstacles. Improving nurse workload and involving nurses in the redesign of tools and technology could provide a meaningful way to reduce maternal morbidity.
Kwok Y-ting, Lam M-sang. BMJ Open Qual. 2022;11:e001696.
Changes in healthcare delivery and care processes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the risk for falls. This study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of a fall prevention program (focused on human factors and ergonomics principles) on inpatient fall rates at one hospital in Hong Kong. Findings indicate that fall rates significantly increased from pre-COVID to during the first wave of the pandemic (July-June 2020). The fall prevention program – implemented in July 2020 – led to a reduction of fall rates, but not to pre-pandemic levels.
Olsen SL, Søreide E, Hansen BS. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Apr 4.
Rapid response systems (RRS) are widely used to identify signs of rapid deterioration among hospitalized patients.  Using in situ simulation, researchers identified obstacles to effective RRS execution, including inconsistent education and documentation, lack of interpersonal trust, and low psychological safety.

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79(7): 564-599.

Pharmacists have a central role in ensuring medication safety during healthcare delivery. This report outlines standards for the delivery of safe, high-quality pharmacy services including how pharmacy departments should be placed within the health system and how health system processes can support safe medication use and pharmacy practice.
Alboksmaty A, Beaney T, Elkin S, et al. The Lancet Digital Health. 2022;4:e279-e289.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a rapid transition of healthcare from in-person to remote and virtual care. This review assessed the safety and effectiveness of pulse oximetry in remote patient monitoring (RPM) of patients at home with COVID-19. Results show RPM was safe for patients in identifying risk of deterioration. However, it was not evident whether remote pulse oximetry was more effective than other virtual methods, such as virtual visits, monitoring consultations, or online or paper diaries.
No results.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; April 7, 2022. RFA-HS-22-008.

Improving diagnosis and reducing diagnostic errors are patient safety priorities. This announcement supports the development of Diagnostic Centers of Excellence focused on improving frontline diagnostician support and improving diagnostic systems (i.e., improving diagnostic precision through consensus, improving “truth” or diagnostic reference standards). Applications are due by June 9, 2022.

Laber-Warren E. MedPage Today. April 5, 2022.

Resident autonomy is an essential component to medical training, but it is not without patient safety risks. This news article highlights situations where resident autonomy should be disclosed to patients (such as instances of overlapping surgeries) and the value of transparency about the role of surgical team members.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2022. ISBN: 9780309686259

Nursing homes face significant patient safety challenges, and these challenges became more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report identifies key issues in the delivery of care for nursing home residents and provides recommendations to strengthen the quality and safety of care delivery, such as improved working conditions, enhanced minimum staffing standards, improving quality measurement, and strengthening emergency preparedness.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Robert Scott Kriss, DO |
This WebM&M describes an adverse event due to mislabeling or “syringe swap” in a preoperative patient. The commentary outlines several recommendations and safeguards to ensure that medications administration is safe.
WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
David Barnes, MD and Joseph Yoon, MD |
An 18-month-old girl presented to the Emergency Department (ED) after being attacked by a dog and sustaining multiple penetrating injuries to her head and neck. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to establish intravenous access, an intraosseous (IO) line was placed in the patient’s proximal left tibia to facilitate administration of fluids, blood products, vasopressors, and antibiotics.  In the operating room, peripheral intravenous (IV) access was eventually obtained after which intraoperative use of the IO line was restricted to a low-rate fluid infusion.  An hour into the operation, the anesthesiologist found her left calf to be warm and tense, presumably due to fluid extravasation from the IO line.  The IO line was removed, and the Orthopedic Surgery service was consulted intraoperatively due to concern for acute compartment syndrome.  Signs of compartment syndrome eventually resolved without any surgical intervention.  The commentary summarizes complications associated with IO lines, the importance of anticipating procedural complications, and methods to identify the signs and symptoms of acute compartment syndrome.
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.

This Month’s Perspectives

Perspective
This piece discusses the role that media plays in affecting patient safety.
Interview
Michael L. Millenson is the President of Health Quality Advisors LLC, author of the critically acclaimed book Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He serves on the Board of Directors for Project Patient Care, and earlier in his career he was a healthcare reporter for the Chicago Tribune, where he was nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize. We spoke with him about how patient safety efforts are shaped by the media and how the role of media has changed since our original discussion on the role of media in patient safety (published in October of 2009 (https://psnet.ahrq.gov/perspective/conversation-charles-ornstein; https://psnet.ahrq.gov/perspective/media-essential-if-sometimes-arbitrary-promoter-patient-safety)).
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