Skip to main content

January 26, 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

Chiel L, Freiman E, Yarahuan J, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2021;12(1):e35-e38.
Medical residents write patient care orders overnight that are often not reviewed by attending physicians until the next morning. This study used the hospital’s data warehouse and retrospective chart review to examine 5927 orders over a 12-month period, 538 were included in the analysis. Key reasons for order changes included medical decision making, patient trajectory, and medication errors. Authors suggest errors of omission may be an area to direct safety initiatives in the future.
Mercer K, Carter C, Burns C, et al. JMIR Hum Factors. 2021;8(4):e22325.
Clear communication regarding medication indications can improve patient safety. This scoping review explored how including the indication on a prescription may impact prescribing practice. Studies suggest that including the indication can help identify errors, support communication, and improve patient safety, but prescribers noted concerns about impacts on workflow and patient privacy.
Oura P. Prev Med Rep. 2021;24:101574.
Accurate measurement of adverse event rates is critical to patient safety improvement efforts. This study used 2018 mortality data and ICD-10-CM codes to characterize adverse event deaths in the United States compared to non-adverse event deaths. The author estimates that 0.16-1.13% of deaths are attributed to an adverse event. Procedure-related complications contributed to the majority of adverse event deaths. The risk of death due to adverse event was higher for younger patients and Black patients.
Chiel L, Freiman E, Yarahuan J, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2021;12(1):e35-e38.
Medical residents write patient care orders overnight that are often not reviewed by attending physicians until the next morning. This study used the hospital’s data warehouse and retrospective chart review to examine 5927 orders over a 12-month period, 538 were included in the analysis. Key reasons for order changes included medical decision making, patient trajectory, and medication errors. Authors suggest errors of omission may be an area to direct safety initiatives in the future.
Kämmer JE, Schauber SK, Hautz SC, et al. Med Educ. 2021;55(10):1172-1182.
Checklists are increasingly used to improve diagnosis by supporting clinical decision making and ensuring that all possible diagnoses are considered. This study explored the effect of a prompt to generate alternative diagnoses versus a differential diagnosis checklist on diagnostic accuracy among medical students completing computer-generated patient cases. The researchers found that the checklist improved diagnostic accuracy compared to a prompt, but only if the checklist included the correct diagnosis; if the correct diagnosis was not included on the checklist, diagnostic accuracy was slightly reduced.  
Etherington C, Kitto S, Burns JK, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21(1):1357.
Gender bias has been implicated in negatively affecting patient safety. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews to explore how gender and other social identify factors impact experiences and teamwork in the operating room. Researchers found that women being routinely challenged or ignored or perceived negatively when assertive may hinder their pursuit of leadership positions or certain specialties. Implicit gender bias and stereotypes along with deeply entrenched structural barriers persist and complicate hierarchical relations between professions – all contributing to breakdowns in communication, increased patient safety risks, and poor team morale.  
Samuels A, Broome ME, McDonald TB, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manage. 2021;26(6):251-260.
Healthcare systems have implemented communication-and-resolution programs (CRPs) (aka CANDOR) to encourage early disclosure of adverse events. This evaluation found that CRP training participants demonstrated improvements in self-reported empathy and communication skills.
Zrelak PA, Utter GH, McDonald KM, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;Epub Dec 4.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) are widely used for measuring and reporting hospital quality and patient safety. This paper describes the process of reweighing the composite patient safety indicator (PSI 90) to incorporate excess harm reflecting patients’ preferences for various possible related outcomes (e.g., readmissions, reoperation, long-term care stay, death). Compared to the original frequency-based weighting, some component indicators in the reweighted composite – including postoperative respiratory failure, postoperative sepsis, and perioperative pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis – contributed to the greatest harm.
Grauer A, Kneifati-Hayek J, Reuland B, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;Epub Dec 28.
Problem lists, while an important part of high-quality care, are frequently incomplete or lack accuracy. This study examined the effectiveness of leveraging indication alerts in electronic health records (EHR) (medication ordered lacking a corresponding problem on the problem list) in two different hospitals using different EHRs. Both sites resulted in a proportion of new problems being added to the problem list for the medications triggered. Between 9.6% and 11.1% were abandoned (order started but not signed), which needs further study.
Oura P. Prev Med Rep. 2021;24:101574.
Accurate measurement of adverse event rates is critical to patient safety improvement efforts. This study used 2018 mortality data and ICD-10-CM codes to characterize adverse event deaths in the United States compared to non-adverse event deaths. The author estimates that 0.16-1.13% of deaths are attributed to an adverse event. Procedure-related complications contributed to the majority of adverse event deaths. The risk of death due to adverse event was higher for younger patients and Black patients.
Lederman J, Lindström V, Elmqvist C, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2021;21(1):154.
Patients who are treated by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel but not transported to the hospital are referred to as non-conveyed patients. In this retrospective cohort study, researchers found that older adult patients in Sweden are at an increased risk of adverse events (such as infection, hospitalization, or death) within 7-days following non-conveyance.
Bacon CT, McCoy TP, Henshaw DS, et al. J Nurs Adm. 2021;51(11):e20-e26.
Organizational safety climate (OSC) has been associated with positive nurse outcomes. This study compared the association between organizational climate and job enjoyment in two surgical units, one that received crew resource management (CRM) training and the other that did not. The study used the Hospital Culture of Safety framework as a theoretical basis and found that job enjoyment and organizational safety climate scores were higher in the hospitals that received CRM training compared with those that did not.
Ebbens MM, Gombert-Handoko KB, Wesselink EJ, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;22(12):2553-2558.e1.
Medication reconciliation has been shown to reduce medication errors but is a time-consuming process. This study compared medication reconciliation via a patient portal with those performed by a pharmacy technician (usual care). Medication discrepancies were similar between both groups, and patients were satisfied using the patient portal, which saved 6.8 minutes per patient compared with usual care.
Ranji SR, Thomas EJ. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jan 5.
Diagnostic safety interventions have been empirically evaluated but real-world implementation challenges persist. This commentary discusses the importance of incorporating contextual factors (e.g., social, cultural) facing complex healthcare systems into the design of diagnostic safety interventions. The authors provide recommendations for designing studies to improve diagnosis that take contextual factors into consideration.
Warner MA, Warner ME. Anesthesiology. 2021;135(6):963-974.
The legacy of anesthesiology as a leader in patient safety is reviewed as a model for other communities seeking to reduce medical error. The authors highlight the collaboration strategies that the specialty embraced as a key component of its success.
St.Pierre M, Grawe P, Bergström J, et al. Safety Sci. 2021;147:105593.
The release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM)’s To Err is Human report in 1999 was a seminal moment in the patient safety movement. This bibliometric analysis found that the report has been mentioned in over 20,000 scientific publications since 2000, but that the themes of recent research do not necessarily align with the initial focus of the IOM report. For example, research on incident reporting and systems approaches to improving safety are underrepresented relative to their emphasis in the IOM report.
Owoc J, Mańczak M, Jabłońska M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18(1):e180-e188.
Clinician burnout can compromise patient safety and lead to adverse outcomes. This systematic review concluded that certain subscales of burnout – emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment – are all independent predictors of self-reported errors.

Ehrenwerth J. UptoDate. November 5, 2021.

Operating room fires are never events that, while rare, still harbor great potential for harm. This review discusses settings prone to surgical fire events, prevention strategies, and care management steps should patients be harmed by an operating room fire.
Alsabri M, Boudi Z, Lauque D, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18(1):e351-e361.
Medical errors are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and frequently result from potentially preventable human errors associated with poor communication and teamwork. This systematic review included 16 studies that were examined for assessment tools, training interventions, safety culture improvement, and teamwork intervention outcomes. The authors conclude that training staff on teamwork and communication improve the safety culture, and may reduce medical errors and adverse events in the Emergency Department.
Mercer K, Carter C, Burns C, et al. JMIR Hum Factors. 2021;8(4):e22325.
Clear communication regarding medication indications can improve patient safety. This scoping review explored how including the indication on a prescription may impact prescribing practice. Studies suggest that including the indication can help identify errors, support communication, and improve patient safety, but prescribers noted concerns about impacts on workflow and patient privacy.
Special or Theme Issue

Weber L, Jewett C. Kaiser Health News. 2021-2022.

The infectious nature of COVID continues to impact the safety of hospitalized patients. This article series examines factors contributing to hospital-acquired COVID-19 infection that include weaknesses in oversight, patient legal protections, and documentation.
Special or Theme Issue

Cohen M, Degnan D, McDonnell P, eds. Patient Saf. 2022;4(s1):1-45

Pharmacists play a unique role in patient safety that educational methods are shifting to address. This special issue covers several topics including strategies to reduce the susceptibility of hospitalized infants and children to medication errors, and infusing safety culture into pharmacy school curriculum.

This Month’s WebM&Ms

WebM&M Cases
Jane L. Erb, MD, Sejal B. Shah, MD and Gordon D. Schiff, MD |
An 18-year-old man with a history of untreated depression and suicide attempts (but no history of psychiatric hospitalizations) was seen in the ED for suicidal ideation after recent gun purchase. Due to suicidal ideation, he was placed on safety hold and a psychiatric consultation was requested. The psychiatry team recommended discharge with outpatient therapy; he was discharged with outpatient resources, the crisis hotline phone number, and strict return precautions. After two encounters with his primary care provider and another visit to the ED for suicidal ideation, the patient was found with a loaded gun in a hotel room. He was taken to the ED for a third time, where has was evaluated and involuntarily admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital for five weeks.  He was ultimately discharged with a diagnosis of “Bipolar 1 – moderate-severe with mixed features.” The commentary discusses the challenges of screening for suicide risk and the importance of continuity of care for patients at risk of self-harm and suicide.
WebM&M Cases
Candice Sauder, MD, MS, MEd, FACS and Kara T Kleber, MD, MA |
A 52-year-old woman presented for a lumpectomy with lymphoscintigraphy and sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) after being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DICS). On the day of surgery, the patient was met in the pre-operative unit by several different providers (pre-operative nurse, resident physician, attending physician, and anethesiology team) to help prepare her for the procedure. In the OR, the surgical team performed two separate time-outs while the patient was being prepped, placed under general anesthesia, and draped. After the attending physician began operating, she realized that no radiotracer dye had been injected for the SNLB – a key process step that was supposed to have occurred prior to the surgery. The nuclear medicine team never saw the patient preoperatively, and none of the staff members or teams realized this until the patient was under general anesthesia with an open incision. The commentary discusses how pre-operative checklist protocols can help multidisciplinary teams avoid communication errors and reduce opportunities for adverse events.
WebM&M Cases
Gary Raff, MD, and Brian Goudy, MD |
This case involves a 2-year-old girl with acute myelogenous leukemia and thrombocytopenia (platelet count 26,000 per microliter) who underwent implantation of a central venous catheter with a subcutaneous port. The anesthetist asked the surgeon to order a platelet transfusion to increase the child’s platelet count to above 50,000 per microliter. In the post-anesthesia care unit, the patient’s arterial blood pressure started fluctuating and she developed cardiac arrest. A “code blue” was called and the child was successfully resuscitated after insertion of a thoracostomy drainage (chest) tube. Unfortunately, the surgeon damaged an intercostal artery when he inserted the chest tube emergently, which caused further bleeding and two additional episodes of PEA arrest. This commentary addresses the importance of mitigating risk during procedures, balancing education of proceduralist trainees with risk to the patient, and prompt review of diagnostic studies by qualified individuals to identify serious complications.

This Month’s Perspectives

Interview
Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) are organizations dedicated to improving patient safety and healthcare quality that serve to collect and analyze data voluntarily reported by healthcare providers to promote learning. Federal confidentiality and privilege protections apply to certain information (defined as “patient safety work product”) developed when a healthcare provider works with a federally listed PSO under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 and its implementing regulation. AHRQ is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the PSO listing process. Based on their presentations at an AHRQ annual meeting, we spoke with representatives from two PSOs, Poonam Sharma, MD, MPH, the Senior Clinical Data Analyst at Atrium Health, and Rhonda Dickman, MSN, RN, CPHQ, the Director of the Tennessee Hospital Association PSO about how the unique circumstances surrounding care during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted patient safety risks in both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Perspective
This piece discusses patient safety challenges that arose as a result of the unique care circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly at the height of the pandemic in 2020. 
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!