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July 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

Keller SC, Caballero TM, Tamma PD, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2220512.
Prescribing antibiotics increases the risk of resistant infections and can lead to patient harm. From December 2019 to November 2020, 389 ambulatory practices participated in a quality improvement project using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use Program. The goal of the intervention was to support implementation and sustainment of antibiotic stewardship into practice culture, communication, and decision-making. Practices that completed the program and submitted data showed a significant decrease of antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory infections at program completion in November 2020.
Levkovich BJ, Orosz J, Bingham G, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jul 5.
Rapid response teams, also known as medical emergency teams (MET), are activated when a patient demonstrates signs of clinical deterioration to prevent transfer to intensive care, cardiac arrest, and death. MET activations were prospectively reviewed at two Australian hospitals to determine the proportion of activations due to medication-related harms and assess the preventability of the activation. 23% of MET activations were medication-related, and 63% of those were considered preventable. Most preventable activations were patients with hypertension, and prevention strategies should focus on these patients.
Yeh JC, Chae SG, Kennedy PJ, et al. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2022;64:e133-e138.
Potentially inappropriate opioid infusion use can result in adverse patient outcomes. This single-site retrospective study found that potentially inappropriate opioid infusions are prevalent (44% of patients receiving opioid infusions during end-of-life care) and were associated with high rates of patient and staff distress.
Keller SC, Caballero TM, Tamma PD, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2220512.
Prescribing antibiotics increases the risk of resistant infections and can lead to patient harm. From December 2019 to November 2020, 389 ambulatory practices participated in a quality improvement project using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use Program. The goal of the intervention was to support implementation and sustainment of antibiotic stewardship into practice culture, communication, and decision-making. Practices that completed the program and submitted data showed a significant decrease of antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory infections at program completion in November 2020.
Farrell TW, Butler JM, Towsley GL, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:5975.
A robust culture of safety encourages open communication between team members. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and nurses in nursing homes were asked about the extent to which their input about residents was valued by the other team members. CNAs reported they felt valued by other CNAs and nurses, but less valued by physicians and pharmacists.
Mercer AN, Mauskar S, Baird JD, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;150:e2021055098.
Children with serious medical conditions are vulnerable to medical errors. This prospective study examined safety reporting behaviors among parents of children with medical complexity and hospital staff caring for these patients in one tertiary children’s hospital. Findings indicate that parents frequently identify medical errors or quality issues, despite not being routinely advised on how to report safety concerns.
Jordan M, Young-Whitford M, Mullan J, et al. Aust J Gen Pract. 2022;51:521-528.
Interventions such as deprescribing, pharmacist involvement, and medication reconciliation are used to reduce polypharmacy and use of high-risk medications such as opioids. In this study, a pharmacist was embedded in general practice to support medication management of high-risk patients. This study presents perspectives of the pharmacists, general practitioners, practice personnel, patients, and carers who participated in the program.
Levkovich BJ, Orosz J, Bingham G, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jul 5.
Rapid response teams, also known as medical emergency teams (MET), are activated when a patient demonstrates signs of clinical deterioration to prevent transfer to intensive care, cardiac arrest, and death. MET activations were prospectively reviewed at two Australian hospitals to determine the proportion of activations due to medication-related harms and assess the preventability of the activation. 23% of MET activations were medication-related, and 63% of those were considered preventable. Most preventable activations were patients with hypertension, and prevention strategies should focus on these patients.
Goodair B, Reeves A. Lancet Public Health. 2022;7:e638-e646.
England’s National Health Service (NHS) allows patients to receive care from public or for-profit private organizations. In comparing treatable mortality rates at public and for-profit providers, researchers found an additional 557 treatable deaths at for-profit private organizations between 2014 and 2020. The authors recommend further research into potential causes.
Lou SS, Lew D, Harford DR, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:2165-2172.
Cross-sectional research has suggested many physicians experience burnout which can negatively impact patient safety. This longitudinal study evaluated the effect of workload (collected via electronic health record audit) on burnout and medication errors (i.e., retract-and-reorder [RAR] events) of internal medicine interns. Higher levels of workload were associated with burnout; there was no statistically significant association between burnout and RAR events.
Xiao Y, Smith A, Abebe E, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e1174-e1180.
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to medication errors due to polypharmacy and medical complexities. In this qualitative study, healthcare professionals outlined several multifactorial hazards for medication-related harm during care transitions, including complex dosing, knowledge gaps, errors in discharge medications and gaps in access to care.
Howe LC, Hardebeck EJ, Eberhardt JL, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2022;119:e2007717119.
Providers’ gender, racial, and ethnic bias can adversely affect patient safety and lead to poor outcomes. This study investigated white patients’ physiological responses to treatment provided by either a woman or Black physician. Despite patients’ positive overt attitudes to Black or woman physicians, they were less physiologically responsive to placebo treatment provided by women or Black physicians, suggesting additional implications for health inequities.
Croskerry P. Diagnosis (Berl). 2022;9:176-183.
In dual process thinking, Type 1 decisions are made rapidly, but can result in diagnostic error. Type 2 processing is slower and more deliberate, and typically where novice clinicians begin practice. This article proposes adaptive expertise to improve novices’ processing. Incorporating six strategies (rationality, critical thinking, metacognitive processes, lateral thinking, medical humanities, distributed cognition) in medical education may improve learners’ processing and reduce diagnostic errors.
McInerney C, Benn J, Dowding D, et al. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2022;290:364-368.
Digital health tools are increasingly used across all areas of the healthcare system. In this study, researchers convened an interdisciplinary expert panel to identify patient safety concerns associated with emerging digital health technologies and to outline recommendations to address these concerns.
Hemmelgarn C, Hatlie MJ, Sheridan S, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manage. 2022;27:56-58.
This commentary, authored by patients and families who have experienced medical errors, argues current patient safety efforts in the United States lack urgency and commitment, even as the World Health Organization is increasing its efforts. They call on policy makers and safety agencies to collaborate with the Patients for Patient Safety US organization to move improvement efforts forward.
Commentary
Liebowitz J. N Engl J Med. 2022;386:2456-2457.
Diagnostic errors caused by premature closure and anchoring bias occur when clinicians rely on initial diagnosis despite receiving subsequent information to the contrary. This commentary encourages clinicians to be aware of their cognitive biases during the diagnosis process.
Marsh KM, Fleming MA, Turrentine FE, et al. J Pediatr Surg. 2022;57:616-621.
Patient safety improvement can be hindered by lack of effective measurement tools. This scoping review explored how medical errors are defined and measured in studies of pediatric surgery patients. The authors identified several evidence gaps, including absence of standardized error definitions.
Velasco RAF, Slusser K, Coats H. J Adv Nurs. 2022;78:3083-3100.
Transgender and gender-diverse people may experience poor quality of healthcare due to stigma and discrimination. This systematic review of qualitative studies found that stigma experienced among transgender and gender-diverse patients occurs at the individual (e.g., internalized stigma, marginalization), interpersonal (e.g., verbal abuse from healthcare providers, withholding of care), and structural levels (e.g., gender norms, power imbalances).
No results.

117th Cong, 2d Sess (2022)

Strengthening diagnostic error research and training can lead to sustained diagnostic improvement. Expanding upon legislation introduced in 2020, the “Improving Diagnosis in Medicine Act of 2022” would establish research centers of diagnostic excellence, an interagency council on improving diagnosis in healthcare, and fellowship and training grants in diagnostic safety, as well as convene an expert panel on diagnostic error measurement and data collection and prioritize stakeholder engagement across all activities.

Lockhart B, Mascie-Taylor H. Crown Copyright: London, England; June 2022.  ISBN 9781912313631.

Misdiagnosis of neurological conditions, such as stroke, can lead to delays in treatment and patient morbidity and mortality. This report outlines findings from an inquiry into one misdiagnosis attributed to one neurologist in Ireland and discusses the leadership, system, process, and communication failures which permitted misdiagnoses to go unchecked.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Kevin J. Keenan, MD, and Daniel K. Nishijima, MD, MAS |
A 58-year-old man with a past medical history of seizures presented to the emergency department (ED) with acute onset of left gaze deviation, expressive aphasia, and right-sided hemiparesis. The patient was evaluated by the general neurology team in the ED, who suspected an acute ischemic stroke and requested an evaluation by the stroke neurology team but did not activate a stroke alert. The stroke team concluded that the patient had suffered a focal seizure prior to arrival and had postictal deficits. The stroke team did not order emergent CT angiography and perfusion imaging but recommended routine magnetic resonance imaging with angiography (MRI/MRA) for further evaluation, which showed extensive cerebral infarction in the distribution of an occluded left middle cerebral artery (MCA). Due to the delayed diagnosis of left MCA stroke, it was too late to perform any neurovascular intervention. The commentary highlights the importance of timely use of stroke alert protocols, challenges with CT angiography in early acute ischemic stroke, and the importance of communication and collaboration between ED and neurology teams.
WebM&M Cases
Garima Agrawal, MD, MPH, Pouria Kashkouli, MD, MS, and and Deb Bakerjian PhD, APRN, FAAN, FAANP, FGSA |
This WebM&M describes a 78-year-old veteran with dementia-associated aggressive behavior who was hospitalized multiple times over several months for hypoxic respiratory failure and atrial fibrillation before being discharged to a skilled nursing facility. The advanced care planning team, in consultation with palliative care and ethics experts, determined that transition to hospice was appropriate. However, these recommendations were verbally communicated and not documented in the chart. The patient developed acute hypoxic respiratory failure the night prior to the planned transition to hospice, was re-admitted to the hospital, and passed away three weeks later at the hospital. The commentary discusses the importance of well-coordinated transitions of care and the importance of active communication and standardized documentation during palliative care transitions.
WebM&M Cases
Luciano Sanchez, PharmD, Hollie Porras, PharmD, BCPS, and Cathy Lammers, MD |
This WebM&M highlights two cases of patient safety events that occurred due to medication dosing related to diagnostic imaging. The commentary highlights the challenges of administering sedation for diagnostic imaging, the use of risk stratification to understand patient risk for oversedation, and strategies for appropriate monitoring and communication.
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