Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

March 1, 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

Armstrong BA, Dutescu IA, Tung A, et al. Br J Surg. 2023;110:645-654.
Cognitive biases are a known source of misdiagnosis and post-operative complications. This review sought to identify the impact of cognitive biases on surgical performance and patient outcomes. Through thematic analysis of 39 studies, the authors identified 31 types of cognitive bias across six themes. Importantly, none of the included studies investigated the source of cognitive bias or mitigation strategies.
Liberman AL, Holl JL, Romo E, et al. Acad Emerg Med. 2022;30:187-195.
A missed or delayed diagnosis of stroke places patients at risk of permanent disability or death. This article describes how interdisciplinary teams used a failure modes, effects, and criticality analysis (FMECA) to create an acute stroke diagnostic process map, identify failures, and highlight existing safeguards. The FMECA process identified several steps in the diagnostic process as the most critical failures to address, including failure to screen patients for stroke soon after presentation to the Emergency Department (ED), failure to obtain an accurate history, and failure to consider a stroke diagnosis during triage.
Magnan EM, Tancredi DJ, Xing G, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6:e2255101.
Rates of prescription opioid misuse and abuse led to recommendations for dose tapering for patients with chronic pain. However, concerns have been raised about the potential harms associated with rapidly decreasing doses or discontinuing opioids. Building on previous research, these researchers used a large claims database to explore the unintended negative consequences of tapering patients on stable, long-term opioid therapy. Findings indicate that opioid tapering was associated with fewer primary care visits, greater numbers of emergency department visits, and reduced adherence to antihypertensive and antidiabetic medications.
Kazi R, Hoyle JD, Huffman C, et al. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2024;28:43-49.
Prehospital medication administration for pediatric patients is complicated by the need to obtain an accurate weight for correct dosing. This retrospective analysis examined prehospital medication dosing in children 12 years of age and younger after implementation of a statewide emergency medical services (EMS) pediatric dosing reference. Despite implementation of written guidelines, researchers found that 35% of prehospital medication administrations involved a dosing error. Dosing errors were most common for hyperglycemia reversal medications, opioids, and one type of bronchodilator (Ipratropium bromide).
Kazi R, Hoyle JD, Huffman C, et al. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2024;28:43-49.
Prehospital medication administration for pediatric patients is complicated by the need to obtain an accurate weight for correct dosing. This retrospective analysis examined prehospital medication dosing in children 12 years of age and younger after implementation of a statewide emergency medical services (EMS) pediatric dosing reference. Despite implementation of written guidelines, researchers found that 35% of prehospital medication administrations involved a dosing error. Dosing errors were most common for hyperglycemia reversal medications, opioids, and one type of bronchodilator (Ipratropium bromide).
Magnan EM, Tancredi DJ, Xing G, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6:e2255101.
Rates of prescription opioid misuse and abuse led to recommendations for dose tapering for patients with chronic pain. However, concerns have been raised about the potential harms associated with rapidly decreasing doses or discontinuing opioids. Building on previous research, these researchers used a large claims database to explore the unintended negative consequences of tapering patients on stable, long-term opioid therapy. Findings indicate that opioid tapering was associated with fewer primary care visits, greater numbers of emergency department visits, and reduced adherence to antihypertensive and antidiabetic medications.
Hyman DA, Lerner J, Magid DJ, et al. JAMA Health Forum. 2023;4:e225436.
Prior research has shown that physicians with more than three paid medical malpractice claims are at increased risk of another claim in the next two years. This study assessed the risk of additional claims after just one paid malpractice claim, whether public disclosure of claims increased the risk, and whether the risk changes over time. The authors also compare actual claims rates to simulated rates if malpractice claims were “random” events unrelated to prior claims.
Holland R, Bond CM, Alldred DP, et al. BMJ. 2023;380:e071883.
Careful medication management in long-term care residents is associated with improved hospital readmission rates and reduced fall rates. In the UK, pharmacist independent prescribers (PIP) can initiate, change, or monitor medications, and this cluster randomized controlled trial evaluated the effect of PIPs on fall rates. After six months of PIP involvement, fall rates (the primary outcome) were not statistically different than the usual care group, although drug burden was reduced.
Dabekaussen KFAA, Scheepers RA, Heineman E, et al. PLoS ONE. 2023;18:e0280444.
Disruptive and unprofessional behavior has been linked to adverse events and staff burnout. This study describes the frequency and types of unprofessional behavior among health care professionals and identifies those most likely to exhibit unprofessional behavior and who is the likely target. Nearly two-thirds of respondents experienced unprofessional behavior at least monthly, most frequently from those outside their department.
Brummell Z, Braun D, Hussein Z, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2023;12:e002092.
Reporting adverse events and lessons learned can help improve patient safety beyond the original impacted facility, but low-quality reports can hinder learning. This study describes the quality of reports submitted during the first three years of England’s mandatory Learning from Deaths (LfD) program. While up to half of National Health Service (NHS) hospital trusts submitted data for all six regulatory statutes, a small minority did not submit any data. Three years in, the identification, reporting, and investigation of deaths has improved, but evidence of improved patient safety is still lacking.
Thomas AD, Pandit C, Krevat S. J Patient Saf. 2023;19:67-70.
Previous research has identified disparities in adverse events and patient safety risks for Black patients compared to White patients. In this study, researchers used a large healthcare system’s malpractice database to examine racial differences in malpractice lawsuits. Although there were no significant race differences in lawsuits, findings suggest that employees are more likely to identify potential malpractice events for White patients compared to Black patients.
Hüner B, Derksen C, Schmiedhofer M, et al. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2023;23:55.
Safe obstetrical care can be compromised by a variety of controllable risk factors, such as communication between providers. To reduce preventable adverse events, interprofessional obstetric teams (physicians and midwives) in one hospital received training on the importance of team communication. Compared to the year before the training, there was a significantly significant reduction in diagnostic errors and inadequate birth position, but not in other categories.
Liberman AL, Holl JL, Romo E, et al. Acad Emerg Med. 2022;30:187-195.
A missed or delayed diagnosis of stroke places patients at risk of permanent disability or death. This article describes how interdisciplinary teams used a failure modes, effects, and criticality analysis (FMECA) to create an acute stroke diagnostic process map, identify failures, and highlight existing safeguards. The FMECA process identified several steps in the diagnostic process as the most critical failures to address, including failure to screen patients for stroke soon after presentation to the Emergency Department (ED), failure to obtain an accurate history, and failure to consider a stroke diagnosis during triage.
Darcis E, Germeys J, Stragier M, et al. J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2023;29:270-275.
Medication errors are common in patients using oral chemotherapy. In this study, a hospital pharmacist identified medication discrepancies in nearly 75% of patients starting oral chemotherapy, with an average of two discrepancies per patient. The pharmacist followed up with the patient’s oncologist via the electronic health record, and the oncologist could accept or reject the pharmacist’s recommendation. Patient outcomes were not evaluated in this study.
Raff L, Moore C, Raff E. Hosp Pract (1995). 2023;51:29-34.
Language barriers can lead to diminished care and threaten patient safety. This retrospective study included patients with rapid response team (RRT) activation and compared disease severity and outcomes for patients whose primary language was Spanish versus English. Findings suggest that language barriers may contribute to delays in RRT activation and delays in care.
Kobeissi MM, Hickey JV. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2023;49:213-222.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the rapid expansion and adoption of telehealth. The authors of this article discuss how to leverage the increased use of telehealth and propose a new organizational telehealth program model to help organizations develop and sustain safe, equitable, and high-quality telehealth programs.
Kelly FE, Frerk C, Bailey CR, et al. Anaesthesia. 2023;78:458-478.
Human factors engineering has the potential to mitigate failures by designing workspaces and processes to prevent errors from occurring. This guidance uses the hierarchy of controls framework to organize human-factors recommendations focusing on the design of anesthesia environments and equipment to infuse protections into care service.
Armstrong BA, Dutescu IA, Tung A, et al. Br J Surg. 2023;110:645-654.
Cognitive biases are a known source of misdiagnosis and post-operative complications. This review sought to identify the impact of cognitive biases on surgical performance and patient outcomes. Through thematic analysis of 39 studies, the authors identified 31 types of cognitive bias across six themes. Importantly, none of the included studies investigated the source of cognitive bias or mitigation strategies.
King C, Dudley J, Mee A, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2023;108:583-588.
Medication errors in pediatric patients can have serious consequences. This systematic review identified three studies examining interventions to improve medication safety in pediatric inpatient settings. Although the three interventions – a mnemonic device, a checklist, and a specific prescribing round involving a clinical pharmacist and a doctor – reduced prescribing errors, the studies did not assess weight-based errors or demonstrate reductions in clinical harm.
Syed-Yahya SNN, Idris MA, Noblet AJ. J Safety Res. 2022;83:105-118.
A culture of safety is foundational to successful patient safety initiatives. This systematic review explored the relationship between safety climate and safety-related behaviors across various industries, including healthcare.
No results.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; February 2023.

Patient misidentification in emergent situations can reduce the appropriateness of care delivery and safety. This report analyzes an incident where the healthcare team misidentified a patient (who had a do-not-resuscitate order) and withheld cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from the wrong patient. The lack of access to health information technology at the bedside, and reference to the patient’s wristband, were factors contributing to the patient’s death.

Washington, DC: VA Office of the Inspector General; February 2, 2023. Report no. 22-01363-52.

Gaps in care for psychologically vulnerable patients can result in harm to family members and self-harm. This report examines organizational failures in responding to staff and clinical leaders’ concerns regarding access, triage, and care continuity for mental health patients. Recommendations for improvement include same-day access to appropriate specialty care, medication management, and risk documentation.

Bilski J. Outpatient Surgery. February 2023;16-21

The concept of just culture was challenged in a high-profile medication error resulting in criminal charges for a nurse. This dialogue shares insights on the impact of the case on nurses, their profession, and patient safety.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research; August 22, 2023.

The articulation of diagnostic error in the ambulatory setting is emerging. These newly released funding announcements seek proposals that focus on understanding the factors contributing to diagnostic error and strategies to improve diagnostic safety in the ambulatory care environment. The application deadline for both opportunities has passed.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Christian Bohringer, MD |
A 48-year-old woman was placed under general anesthesia with a laryngeal mask. The anesthesiologist was distracted briefly to sign for opioid drugs in a register, and during this time, the end-tidal carbon dioxide alarm sounded. Attempts to manually ventilate the patient were unsuccessful. The anesthesiologist asked for suxamethonium (succinylcholine) but the drug refrigerator was broken and the medication had to be retrieved from another room. The commentary discusses risk factors for laryngospasm, strategies to minimize distractions in the operating room and the importance of readily available neuromuscular blocking drugs and airway resuscitation equipment in operating rooms and other patient areas where laryngospasm is likely to occur.
WebM&M Cases
Nisha Punatar, MD, Samson Lee, PharmD, BCACP, and Mithu Molla, MD, MBA |
The cases described in this WebM&M reflect fragmented care with lapses in coordination and communication as well as failure to appropriately address medication discrepancies. These two cases involve duplicate therapy errors, which have the potential to cause serious adverse drug events. The commentary summarizes risk factors for medication discrepancies and approaches for safer medication administration, including the use of teach-back counseling, pharmacy-led medication reconciliation during transitions of care, and electronic health record-based strategies for safer prescribing.
WebM&M Cases
Spotlight Case
Jonathan Trask, RN, Kathleen M. Carlsen, PA, Brooks T. Kuhn, MD |
A 72-year-old man was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia and ileus, and admitted to a specialized COVID care unit. A nasogastric tube (NGT) was placed, supplemental oxygen was provided, and oral feedings were withheld. Early in his hospital stay, the patient developed hyperactive delirium and pulled out his NGT. Haloperidol was ordered for use as needed (“prn”) and the nurse was asked to replace the NGT and confirm placement by X-ray. The bedside and charge nurses had difficulty placing the NGT and the X-ray confirmation was not done. Eight hours later, the patient became hypotensive and hypoxemic and emergent CT revealed a gastric perforation. The patient was transferred to the intensive care unit and ultimately required endotracheal intubation with mechanical ventilation. The commentary discusses the complications associated with nasogastric tube insertion, assessing and treating acute agitation secondary to delirium, and the importance of clear communication during shift changes and handoffs.

This Month’s Perspectives

Christie Allen
Interview
Christie Allen is the Senior Director of Quality Improvement at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). We spoke to her about her experience in maternal safety and improving perinatal mental healthcare, which is care for mental health conditions during pregnancy and the twelve months following delivery
Perspective
<p>Christie Allen, MSN, RNC-NIC, CPHQ, C-ONQS, Cindy Manaoat Van, MHSA, Sarah E. Mossburg, RN, PhD</p> |
This piece focuses on perinatal mental health and efforts to improve maternal 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!