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August 3, 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

Burns ML, Saager L, Cassidy RB, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;157:807-815.
Anesthesiologists often must oversee multiple surgeries. This study evaluated adult patients from 23 US academic and private hospitals who underwent major surgery between 2010, and 2017, to examine anesthesiologist staffing ratios against patient morbidity and mortality. The authors categorized the staffing into four groups based on the number of operations the anesthesiologist was covering. The study found that increased anesthesiologist coverage was associated with greater risk-adjusted morbidity and mortality of surgical patients. Hospitals should consider evaluating anesthesiology staffing to determine potential increased risks.
Montgomery A, Lainidi O, Johnson J, et al. Health Care Manage Rev. 2023;48:52-60.
When faced with a patient safety concern, staff need to decide whether to speak up or remain silent. Leaders play a crucial role in addressing contextual factors behind employees’ decisions to remain silent. This article offers support for leaders to create a culture of psychological safety and encourage speaking up behaviors.
Maher V, Cwiek M. Hosp Top. 2022;Epub Jul 20.
Fear of criminal liability may inhibit clinicians from reporting medical errors, thereby reducing opportunities for learning. This commentary discusses recent legal actions brought against clinicians, including Tennessee nurse RaDonda Vaught, and the negative impact such actions may have on the longstanding disclosure movement.
Watson J, Salisbury C, Whiting PF, et al. Br J Gen Pract. 2022;72:e747-e754.
Failure to communicate blood test results to patients may result in delayed diagnosis or treatment. In this study, UK primary care patients and general practitioners (GPs) were asked about their experiences with the communication of blood test results. Patients and GPs both expected the other to follow up on results and had conflicting experiences with the method of communication (e.g., phone call, text message).
Burns ML, Saager L, Cassidy RB, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;157:807-815.
Anesthesiologists often must oversee multiple surgeries. This study evaluated adult patients from 23 US academic and private hospitals who underwent major surgery between 2010, and 2017, to examine anesthesiologist staffing ratios against patient morbidity and mortality. The authors categorized the staffing into four groups based on the number of operations the anesthesiologist was covering. The study found that increased anesthesiologist coverage was associated with greater risk-adjusted morbidity and mortality of surgical patients. Hospitals should consider evaluating anesthesiology staffing to determine potential increased risks.
Samal L, Khasnabish S, Foskett C, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:611-616.
Adverse events can be identified through multiple methods, including trigger tools and voluntary reporting systems. In this comparison study, the Global Trigger Tool identified 79 AE in 88 oncology patients, compared to 21 in the voluntary reporting system; only two AE were identified by both. Results indicate multiple sources should be used to detect AE.
Halvorson EE, Thurtle DP, Easter A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e928-e933.
Voluntary event reporting (VER) systems are required in most hospitals, but their effectiveness is limited if adverse events (AE) go unreported. In this study, researchers compared rates of AE submitted to the VER against those identified using the Global Assessment of Pediatric Patient Safety (GAPPS) trigger tool to identify disparities based on patient characteristics (i.e., weight, race, English proficiency). The GAPPS tool identified 37 AE in patients with limited English proficiency; none of these were reported to the VER system, suggesting a systematic underreporting of AE in this population.
Plint AC, Newton AS, Stang A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:806-817.
While adverse events (AE) in pediatric emergency departments are rare, the majority are considered preventable. This study reports on the proportion of pediatric patients experiencing an AE within 21 days of an emergency department visit, whether the AE may have been preventable, and the type of AE (e.g., management, diagnostic). Results show 3% of children experienced at least one AE, most of which were preventable.
Smith K, Durant KM, Zimmerman C. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:1198-1204.
Clinical decision support (CDS) systems built into electronic health records are designed to alert providers to potentially unsafe orders, but many alerts are ignored or overridden. This article describes the effectiveness of one hospital’s clinical decision support for high-risk medications both before and after alert improvements.
de Kraker MEA, Tartari E, Tomczyk S, et al. Lancet Infect Dis. 2022;22:835-844.
Hand hygiene is known to be a critical part of effective infection prevention and control. This study examined the level of hand hygiene implementation using the WHO Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework global survey and its drivers. There were 3,206 organizations from 90 different countries that responded. Over half of the participants indicated they had intermediate hand hygiene implementation, particularly those with higher county income levels and facility funding. Implementation of alcohol-based hand rub stations was an important system change associated with improved scores.
Li W, Stimec J, Camp M, et al. J Emerg Med. 2022;62:524-533.
While pediatric musculoskeletal radiograph misinterpretations are rare, it is important to know what features of the image area are associated with false-positive or false-negative diagnoses. In this study, pediatric emergency medicine physicians were asked to interpret radiographs with and without known fractures. False-positive diagnosis (i.e., a fracture was identified when there was none) were reviewed by an expert panel to identify the location and anatomy most prone to misdiagnosis.

Zimolzak AJ, Singh H, Murphy DR, et al. BMJ Health Care Inform. 2022;29(1):e100565.

Patient safety algorithms developed through research must also be implemented into clinical practice. This article describes the process of translating an electronic health record-based algorithm for detecting missed follow-up of colorectal or lung cancer testing, from research into practice. All 12 test sites were able to successfully implement the trigger and identify appropriate cases.
Maher V, Cwiek M. Hosp Top. 2022;Epub Jul 20.
Fear of criminal liability may inhibit clinicians from reporting medical errors, thereby reducing opportunities for learning. This commentary discusses recent legal actions brought against clinicians, including Tennessee nurse RaDonda Vaught, and the negative impact such actions may have on the longstanding disclosure movement.
Montgomery A, Lainidi O, Johnson J, et al. Health Care Manage Rev. 2023;48:52-60.
When faced with a patient safety concern, staff need to decide whether to speak up or remain silent. Leaders play a crucial role in addressing contextual factors behind employees’ decisions to remain silent. This article offers support for leaders to create a culture of psychological safety and encourage speaking up behaviors.
Morris P, McCloskey R, Bulman D. Innov Aging. 2022;6:iagc028.
Patient-centered care ensures that patient values, needs and preferences are respected; however, some patient populations, such as older adults with dementia, may require assistance. This article describes iatrogenic harm resulting from well-intended assistance in residential long-term care.
Smith CJ, DesRoches SL, Street NW, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;42:24-30.
New graduate registered nurses (NGRNs) frequently experience a knowledge-practice gap during their transition to practice. This article suggests that the gap has widened, as COVID-19 restrictions impacted pre-licensure nurses’ education, clinical training, testing, and licensure. Recommendations for improving the transition to practice include innovative academic-clinical partnerships.
Weston M, Chiodo C. AORN J. 2022;115:569-575.
Unintentionally retained foreign objects can be exacerbated by fatigue, distractions, and communication errors. This article highlights the importance of effective teamwork, high reliability orientation, and standardized surgical count methods to minimize the persistent problem of retained surgical items.
Blythe R, Parsons R, White NM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:725-734.
Early recognition of clinical deterioration in patients is often difficult to detect and often results in poor patient outcomes. This scoping review focused on the delivery and response to deterioration alerts and their impact on patient outcomes. Only four out of 18 studies included in the review reported statistically significant improvements in at least two patient outcomes, Authors suggest that workflow and integration of the early warning system model’s features into the decision-making process may be helpful.
Abildgren L, Lebahn-Hadidi M, Mogensen CB, et al. Adv Simul (Lond). 2022;7:12.
Simulation is becoming more common in healthcare education programs, but often focuses on in-hospital, skills-based training aimed at developing team human factors skills. This systematic review included 72 studies from 2004-2021 that included human factors skills with a variety of different designs, types of training interventions, and assessment tools and methods. The authors concluded that simulation-based training was effective in training teams in human factors skills; additional work is needed on the retention and transfer of those skills to practice.
Meeting/Conference Proceedings

Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch. September 21, 2022. 

Incident investigations are important tools for uncovering latent factors that facilitate patient harm. This conference drew from experience in the United Kingdom and Norway to discuss how adverse event examinations can improve care provision and highlighted efforts in the United Kingdom to focus on maternity care safety.

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;365-387.

The memory of John Eisenberg, MD, continues to motivate patient safety improvement. The 2021 honorees for the award presented in Dr Eisenberg’s honor are Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, Prime Healthcare Services, Ontario, California, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California, and Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH.
Newspaper/Magazine Article

Jones LA. The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 17, 2022. 

Racial disparities and inequities detract from safe maternal care. This feature article discusses the history of obstetric care in the United States and examines the roots of unsafe care for Black mothers that perpetuate in that community today.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Kevin J. Kelly, MD |
A 65-year-old female with a documented allergy to latex underwent surgery for right-sided Zenker’s diverticulum. Near the conclusion of surgery, a latex Penrose drain was placed in the neck surgical incision. The patient developed generalized urticaria, bronchospasm requiring high airway pressures to achieve adequate ventilation, and hypotension within 5 minutes of placement of the drain. The drain was removed and replaced with a silicone drain. Epinephrine and vasopressors were administered post-operatively and the patient’s symptoms resolved. The commentary discusses risk factors and consequences of latex allergy in hospital and operating room settings, common latex products that trigger allergic reactions  and hospital safety practices that can limit the risk of latex exposure.
WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Anamaria Robles, MD, and Garth Utter, MD, MSc |
A 49-year-old woman was referred by per primary care physician (PCP) to a gastroenterologist for recurrent bouts of abdominal pain, occasional vomiting, and diarrhea. Colonoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, and x-rays were interpreted as normal, and the patient was reassured that her symptoms should abate. The patient was seen by her PCP and visited the Emergency Department (ED) several times over the next six months. At each ED visit, the patient’s labs were normal and no imaging was performed. A second gastroenterologist suggested a diagnosis of intestinal ischemia to the patient, her primary gastroenterologist, her PCP, and endocrinologist but the other physicians did not follow up on the possibility of mesenteric ischemia. On another ED visit, the second gastroenterologist consulted a surgeon, and a mesenteric angiogram was performed, confirming a diagnosis of mesenteric ischemia with gangrenous intestines. The patient underwent near-total intestinal resection, developed post-operative infections requiring additional operations, experienced cachexia despite parenteral nutrition, and died of sepsis 3 months later.  The commentary discusses the importance of early diagnosis of mesenteric ischemia and how to prevent diagnostic errors that can impede early identification and treatment.
WebM&M Cases
Samson Lee, PharmD, and Mithu Molla, MD, MBA |
This WebM&M highlights two cases where home diabetes medications were not reviewed during medication reconciliation and the preventable harm that could have occurred. The commentary discusses the importance of medication reconciliation, how to compile the ‘best possible medication history’, and how pharmacy staff roles and responsibilities can reduce medication errors.

This Month’s Perspectives

Francoise A. Marvel
Interview
Francoise A. Marvel, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine within the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, codirector of the Johns Hopkins Digital Health Innovation Lab, and the chief executive officer (CEO) and cofounder of Corrie Health. We spoke with her about the emergence of application-based tools used for healthcare and the patient safety issues surrounding the use of such tools.
Perspectives on Safety
This piece focuses on the emergence and use of digital applications (apps), app-based products and devices for healthcare, and the implications for patient safety.
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