The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Ong N, Lucien A, Long JC, et al. BMJ Open. 2023;13:e071494.
Children with intellectual disabilities can be at higher risk for patient safety events. Based on semi-structured interviews and focus groups with healthcare professionals, this study describes several themes regarding healthcare professionals’ perspectives about patient safety considerations when caring for children and young people with intellectual disabilities. Findings underscore the importance of considering additional vulnerabilities, improving engagement with patients and families, and mitigating negative attitudes and biases.
Hibbert PD, Molloy CJ, Schultz TJ, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2023;35:mzad056.
Accurate and reliable detection and measurement of adverse events remains challenging. This systematic review examined the difference in adverse events detected using the Global Trigger Tool compared to those detected via incident reporting systems. In 12 of the 14 included studies, less than 10% of adverse events detected using the Global Trigger Tool were also found in corresponding incident reporting systems. The authors of the review emphasize the importance of using multiple approaches and sources of patient safety data to enhance adverse event detection.
Ellis LA, Falkland E, Hibbert P, et al. Front Public Health. 2023;11:1217542.
Safety culture is recognized as an essential component of reducing or preventing errors and improving overall patient safety. This commentary calls for greater consistency in defining and measuring safety culture across settings. The authors describe challenges faced by patient safety professionals and researchers, and offer recommendations on overcoming them.
Nicklin W, Greenfield D. Int J Qual Health Care. 2023;35:mzad036.
Accreditation remains an important strategy for improving and maintaining high quality despite mixed patient outcomes. This commentary advocates for accrediting agencies to continue with previously-defined safety goals (i.e., not “lowering the bar” due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic) to ensure patients continue to receive excellent care and stakeholders maintain trust in the accreditation process.
Hacker CE, Debono D, Travaglia J, et al. J Health Organ Manag. 2022;36:981-986.
Disinfection and cleaning of the hospital environment can promote a reduction in healthcare-associated infections. This commentary discussed the important, yet largely invisible, role of the hospital cleaning workforce. The authors also describe additional benefits provided by cleaners, such as reducing patient isolation and alerting clinical staff to patient changes.
A strong safety culture encourages error reporting and supports a blame-free environment, and is frequently measured to develop appropriate interventions. This review identified nearly 900 studies that assessed hospital safety culture with response rates from 4% to 100%. The authors identify several factors that influence response rate: remote distribution (i.e., electronic or sent via mail), timing (e.g., beginning/end of resident rotations, COVID-19), and length of survey.
Ong N, Mimmo L, Barnett D, et al. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2022;64:1359-1365.
Patients with intellectual disabilities may be at higher risk for patient safety events. In this study, researchers qualitatively analyzed hospital incident reporting data and identified incidents categories disproportionately experienced by children with intellectual disabilities. These incident categories included medication-intravenous fluid issues, communication failures, clinical deterioration, and care issues identified by parents.
Mimmo L, Harrison R, Travaglia J, et al. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2022;64:314-322.
… study including patients admitted to two children’s hospitals in Australia found that children with … without intellectual disabilities. … Mimmo L, Harrison R, Travaglia J, et al. Inequities in quality and safety outcomes …
Safety culture has been studied in healthcare settings using a variety of methods. This systematic review identified 694 studies of safety culture in hospitals. Most used quantitative surveys, and only 31 used qualitative or mixed methods. Eleven themes were identified, with leadership being the most common; none of the methods or tools appeared to measure all 11 themes. The authors recommend that future research include both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Braithwaite J, Vincent CA, Garcia-Elorrio E, et al. BMC Med. 2020;18:340.
Delivering high-quality, safe healthcare requires coordination and integration of complex systems and activities. The authors propose three initiatives to further practical opportunities for transforming health systems across the world – a country-specific blueprint for change, tangible steps to reduce inequities within and across health systems, and learning from both errors and successes to improve safe care delivery.
Staines A, Amalberti R, Berwick DM, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33:mzaa050.
The authors of this editorial propose a five-step strategy for patient safety and quality improvement staff to leverage their skills to support patients, staff, and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes (1) strengthening the system and environment, (2) supporting patient, family and community engagement and empowerment, (3) improving clinical care through separation of workflows and development of clinical decision support, (4) reducing harm by proactively managing risk for patients with and without COVID-19, and (5) enhancing and expanding the learning system to develop resilience.
Hibbert PD, Thomas MJW, Deakin A, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;32:184-189.
Based on 31 root cause analysis reports of surgical incidents in Australia, this study found that the most commonly retained surgical items were surgical packs (n=9) and drain tubes (n=8). While most retained items were detected on the day of the procedure (n=7), about 16% of items were detected 6-months or later post-procedure. The study found that complex or lengthy procedures were more likely to lead to a retained item, and many retained items, such as drains or catheters, occur in postoperative settings where surgical counts are not applicable.
Odell DD, Quinn CM, Matulewicz RS, et al. J Am Coll Surg. 2019;229:175-183.
Establishing a strong culture of safety is an important priority in the health care setting. Prior research examining the association between improved safety culture and patient outcomes has produced mixed results. Using a modified version of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ), researchers surveyed hospital leaders and frontline providers across 49 hospitals in the Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative. Consistent with prior research, they found that hospital administrators had more positive perceptions of safety than frontline health care providers. They also found a significant association between improved safety culture as measured by the SAQ and reduced risk of postoperative morbidity and death. A past PSNet perspective discussed the impact of safety culture on safety.
Prior studies have found that patients are often prescribed opioids inappropriately after undergoing surgery. This qualitative study reports on the implementation of a multifaceted effort to reduce opioid prescribing and standardize postoperative pain management at an academic hospital. The investigators identified several barriers to improving prescribing, including time and resource constraints and fear of harming patient satisfaction.
Dahm MR, Georgiou A, Herkes R, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2018;5:215-222.
Inadequate test result follow-up places patients at risk of delayed diagnosis, especially in the ambulatory setting. Diverse stakeholders in Australia established an agenda for enhancing test result management, which included better governance, improved use of technology, and consistent patient engagement. A WebM&M commentary explored two incidents where poor test result follow-up led to patient harm.
In learning organizations, leadership behavior creates a supportive learning environment where concrete processes are in place to facilitate learning and encourage creativity among employees. Published in a series of quality improvement articles, this commentary suggests that a commitment to systems thinking and innovation is needed to achieve progress. Elements of a changed approach include a reduced focus on rules and policies and an enhanced effort to consider system interactions.
Churruca K, Ellis LA, Braithwaite J. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018;18:201.
Unit-level dysfunction creates observable violations that, once normalized, can result in organizational failure. This article explains how applying the broken windows theory in health care can enable understanding of workarounds that may escalate from helpful adjustments in practice to a manifestation of conditions that contribute to patient harm.