Skip to main content

January 18, 2023 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

Cresham Fox S, Taylor N, Marufu TC, et al. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2022;Epub Dec 3.
While many hospitals have rapid response teams (RRT) which can be activated by clinicians, only a few hospitals have also implemented programs which allow patients and families to activate RRT. This review identified 6 articles (5 interventions) with family-activated RRT in pediatric hospitals. The authors of the review conclude that family-activated RRT is a key component to family engagement and enhancing patient safety. Only one intervention was also available in a non-English language, which should be considered in future interventions.
Greig PR, Zolger D, Onwochei DN, et al. Anaesthesia. 2022;Epub Dec 14.
Cognitive aids, such as checklists and decision aids, can reduce omissions in care and improve patient safety. This systematic review including 13 randomized trials found that cognitive aids in clinical emergencies reduced the incidence of missed care steps (from 43% to 11%) and medical errors, and improved teamwork, non-technical, and conflict resolution scores.
Sterling MR, Lau J, Rajan M, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;Epub Dec 5.
Home healthcare is common among older adults, who are often vulnerable to patient safety events due to factors such as medical complexity. This cross-sectional study of 4,296 Medicare patients examined the relationship between receipt of home healthcare services, perceived gaps in care coordination, and preventable adverse outcomes. The researchers found that home healthcare was not associated with self-reported gaps in care coordination, but was associated with increases in self-reported preventable drug-drug interactions (but not ED visits or hospital admissions).
Sutton E, Booth L, Ibrahim M, et al. Qual Health Res. 2022;32:2078-2089.
Patient engagement and encouragement to speak up about their care can promote patient safety. This qualitative study explored patients’ psychosocial experiences after surviving abdominal surgery complications. Findings highlight an overarching theme of vulnerability and how power imbalances between patients and healthcare professionals can influence speaking up behaviors.
Doctor JN, Stewart E, Lev R, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6:e2249877.
Research has shown that prescribers who are notified of a patient’s fatal opioid overdose will decrease milligram morphine equivalents (MME) up to 3 months following notification as compared to prescribers who are not notified. This article reports on the same cohort’s prescribing behavior at 4-12 months. Among prescribers who received notification, total weekly MME continued to decrease more than the control group during the 4-12 month period.
Baldwin CA, Hanrahan K, Edmonds SW, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2023;49:14-25.
Unprofessional and disruptive behavior can erode patient safety and safety culture. The Co-Worker Observation System (CORS), a peer-to-peer feedback program previously used with physicians and advance practice providers, was implemented for use with nurses in three hospitals. Reports of unprofessional behavior submitted to the internal reporting system were evaluated by the CORS team, and peer-to-peer feedback was given to the recipient. This pilot study demonstrated that the implementation bundle can be successful with nursing staff.
Armstrong-Mensah E, Rasheed N, Williams D, et al. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2022;Epub Nov 4.
Black patients who experience racism from their providers report receiving lower quality of care. Black public health students were asked about racist behaviors exhibited by their healthcare providers and the impacts the behaviors had on their care. The students recommend education and accountability to reduce providers’ racist attitudes, as well as increasing the number of Black clinicians.  
Barrett AK, Sandbrink F, Mardian A, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:4037-4046.
Opioid medication use is associated with an increased risk of adverse events; however research has shown sudden discontinuation of opioids is also associated with adverse events such as withdrawal and hospitalization. This before and after study evaluated the impact of the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) on characteristics and prescribing practices. Results indicate that length of tapering period increased, and mortality risk decreased following OSI implementation.
Bell SK, Bourgeois FC, Dong J, et al. Milbank Q. 2022;Epub Dec 20.
Patients who access their electronic health record (EHR) through a patient portal have identified clinically relevant errors such as allergies, medications, or diagnostic errors. This study focused on patient-identified diagnostic safety blind spots in ambulatory care clinical notes. The largest category of blind spots was diagnostic misalignment. Many patients indicated they reported the errors to the clinicians, suggesting shared notes may increase patient and family engagement in safety.
Sterling MR, Lau J, Rajan M, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;Epub Dec 5.
Home healthcare is common among older adults, who are often vulnerable to patient safety events due to factors such as medical complexity. This cross-sectional study of 4,296 Medicare patients examined the relationship between receipt of home healthcare services, perceived gaps in care coordination, and preventable adverse outcomes. The researchers found that home healthcare was not associated with self-reported gaps in care coordination, but was associated with increases in self-reported preventable drug-drug interactions (but not ED visits or hospital admissions).
Westbrook JI, Li L, Raban MZ, et al. NPJ Digit Med. 2022;5:179.
Pediatric patients are particularly vulnerable to medication errors. This cluster randomized controlled trial examined the short- and long-term impacts of an electronic medication management (eMM) system implemented at one pediatric referral hospital in Australia. Findings suggest that eMM implementation did not reduce medication errors in the first 70 days of use, but researchers observed a decrease in medication errors one year after implementation, suggesting long-term benefits.
Aubin DL, Soprovich A, Diaz Carvallo F, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2022;11:e002004.
Healthcare workers (HCW) and patients can experience negative psychological impacts following medical error; the negative impact can be compounded when workers and patients are prevented from processing the error. This study explored interactions between patients/families and HCWs following a medical error, highlighting barriers to communication, as well as the need for training and peer support for HCWs. Importantly, HCW and patients/families expressed feeling empathy towards the other and stressed that open communication can lead to healing for some.
Pollock BD, Dykhoff HJ, Breeher LE, et al. Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2023;7:51-57.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted healthcare delivery and raised concerns about exacerbating existing patient safety challenges. Based on incident reporting data from three large US academic medical centers from January 2020 through December 2021, researchers found that patient safety event rates did not increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they did observe a relationship between staffing levels during the pandemic and patient safety event rates.
Goekcimen K, Schwendimann R, Pfeiffer Y, et al. J Patient Saf. 2023;19:e1-e8.
Incident reporting systems are common tools to detect patient safety hazards. This systematic review synthesized evidence from 41 studies using incident reporting system data to identify and characterize critical incidents. Medication-related incidents and incidents due to “active failures” were the most commonly reported events. The authors observe that only one in three studies reported on corrective actions due to the incidents, highlighting the need to emphasize the importance of learning from errors.
Greig PR, Zolger D, Onwochei DN, et al. Anaesthesia. 2022;Epub Dec 14.
Cognitive aids, such as checklists and decision aids, can reduce omissions in care and improve patient safety. This systematic review including 13 randomized trials found that cognitive aids in clinical emergencies reduced the incidence of missed care steps (from 43% to 11%) and medical errors, and improved teamwork, non-technical, and conflict resolution scores.
Gleeson LL, Clyne B, Barlow JW, et al. Int J Pharm Pract. 2023;Epub Jan 3.
Remote delivery of care, such as telehealth and e-prescribing, increased sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This rapid review was conducted to determine the types and frequency of medication safety incidents associated with remote delivery of primary care prior to the pandemic. Fifteen articles were identified covering medication safety and e-prescribing; none of these studies associated medication safety and telehealth.
Cresham Fox S, Taylor N, Marufu TC, et al. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2022;Epub Dec 3.
While many hospitals have rapid response teams (RRT) which can be activated by clinicians, only a few hospitals have also implemented programs which allow patients and families to activate RRT. This review identified 6 articles (5 interventions) with family-activated RRT in pediatric hospitals. The authors of the review conclude that family-activated RRT is a key component to family engagement and enhancing patient safety. Only one intervention was also available in a non-English language, which should be considered in future interventions.
International Meeting/Conference

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. The Taj Palace, New Delhi, India. February 13-14, 2023.

This multidisciplinary international conference is designed around the theme of “Dream, Design, Dare.” Topics to be covered include strategic planning for improvement, artificial intelligence, and technologies as tools for safety care, and a peer exchange initiative to generate safety learnings.

Ramachandran V. Kaiser Health News. January 6, 2023.

Inadequate equipment and personnel training degrade the reliability of individuals to provide safe care in an emergency. This article discusses inconsistent preparedness throughout commercial aviation to support care during an in-flight medical situation; it suggests federal oversight of medical kits may help to ensure their completeness and improve the potential for safety should care be required.

Abelson R. New York Times. December 15, 2022.

Emergency department safety is challenged by factors such as production pressure, burnout, and overcrowding. This news article provides context for the 2022 AHRQ report Diagnostic Errors in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review from the Johns Hopkins Medicine Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) which synthesized the number of patients harmed while seeking emergency care.

Cambridge, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement: January 2023.

The National Steering Committee for Patient Safety (NSC) was formed to engage with the health care community to plan and prioritize patient safety work to generate improvements. This short survey seeks comments from the field to determine current interest and status in efforts aligned with the National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Christian Bohringer, MBBS and Luis Godoy, MD |
A 62-year-old Spanish-speaking woman presented to the pre-anesthesia area for elective removal of a left thigh lipoma. Expecting a relatively simple outpatient operation, the anesthesiologist opted not to use a Spanish language translator and performed a quick pre-anesthesia evaluation, obtaining her history from the medical record. Unknown to the anesthesiologist, the patient was trying to communicate to him that she had undergone jaw replacement surgery and that her mouth opening was therefore anatomically limited. During the procedure, the anesthesiologist realized he would need to ventilate the patient, but his view was severely limited, and he was unable to visualize the airway sufficiently for intubation. Eventually the patient was intubated, although both of her central maxillary incisors were dislodged in the process, and she required dental implants to replace the two dislodged teeth. The commentary discusses the importance of conducting preoperative assessments in the patient’s own language and the role of medical interpreting services, as well as approaches to manage patients with difficult airways.  
WebM&M Cases
Mark Fedyk, PhD, Nathan Fairman, MD, MPH, Patrick S. Romano, MD, MPH, John MacMillan, MD, and Monica Miller, RN, MS, CCRN |
A 65-year-old man with metastatic liver disease presented to the hospital with worsening abdominal pain after a partial hepatectomy and development of a large ventral hernia. Imaging studies revealed perforated diverticulitis. A goals-of-care discussion was led by the palliative care service; the patient and his designated decision-makers chose to pursue non-operative management of diverticulitis. The condition worsened, signaling failure of non-operative management; following his wishes, he transitioned to comfort-focused end-of-life care. Shortly after this transition, the patient became unresponsive and only showed non-verbal signs of pain. The care team disagreed about how to best manage the patient’s pain and the family expressed anger, anxiety, and frustration that he remained in pain. After 5 days of continued unresponsiveness and non-verbal signs of pain, the patient died. The palliative care team spent many hours with the family helping them to manage their grief and dissatisfaction. The commentary highlights a decision-making framework to consider when creating and implementing care plans (including the importance of patient preferences) and how care teams should handle disagreement with care plans.
WebM&M Cases
Naileshni S. Singh, MD |
A 63-year-old woman was admitted to a hospital for anterior cervical discectomy (levels C4-C7) and plating for cervical spinal stenosis under general anesthesia. The operation was uneventful and intraoperative neuromonitoring was used to help prevent spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury. During extubation after surgery, the anesthesia care provider noticed a large (approximately 4-5 cm) laceration on the underside of the patient’s tongue, with an associated hematoma. This finding was attributed to the fact that the inexperienced anesthesia care provider was unaware of the fact that motor evoked potentials can cause an anesthetized patient’s jaw to clench quite strongly, and thus had not placed a bite block in the patient's mouth. The patient's tongue laceration resulted in pain and difficulty speaking and the patient was taken back to the operating room so that her tongue laceration could be repaired.

This Month’s Perspectives

Michelle Schreiber photograph
Interview
We spoke to Dr. Michelle Schreiber about measuring patient safety, the CMS National Quality Strategy, and the future of measurement. Michelle Schreiber, MD, is the Deputy Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality and the Director of the Quality Measurement and Value-Based Incentives Group at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Ellen Deutsch photograph
Interview
Ellen Deutsch, MD, MS, FACS, FAAP, FSSH, CPPS is a Medical Officer in the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Deutsch is a pediatric otolaryngologist and has vast experience in simulation and resilience engineering. We spoke with her about resilient healthcare and how resilient engineering principles are applied to improve patient safety.
Stay Updated!
PSNet highlights the latest patient safety literature, news, and expert commentary, including Weekly Updates, WebM&M, and Perspectives on Safety. Sign up today to get weekly and monthly updates via emails!