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.
Hung A, Wang J, Moriarty F, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2023;71:2023-2027.
Deprescribing is used to reduce the risk of adverse drug events resulting from polypharmacy among older adults. This article outlines several recommendations for improved cost-effectiveness analyses of deprescribing interventions to support decision makers.
Peard LM, Teplitsky S, Annabathula A, et al. Can J Urol. 2023;30(2):11467-11472.
Root cause analysis (RCA) is one tool commonly used to identify factors contributing to adverse events. Using RCA data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), this study characterized adverse events occurring during urologic procedures. The most common causes of adverse events were improperly functioning equipment (e.g., broken scopes or smoking light cords), wrong site surgeries, and retained surgical items.
Yackel EE, Knowles RS, Jones CM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2023;19:340-345.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed healthcare delivery and exacerbated threats to patient safety. Using Veterans Health Administration (VHA) National Center for Patient Safety data, this retrospective study characterized patient safety events related to COVID-19 occurring between March 2020 and February 2021. Delays in care and exposure to COVID-19 were the most common events and confusion over procedures, missed care, and failure to identify COVID-positive patients before exposures were the most common contributing factors.
Mills PD, Louis RP, Yackel E. J Healthc Qual. 2023;45:242-253.
Changes in healthcare delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in delays in care that can lead to patient harm. In this study using patient safety event data submitted to the VHA National Center of Patient Safety, researchers identified healthcare delays involving laboratory results, treatment and interventional procedures, and diagnosis.
Politi RE, Mills PD, Zubkoff L, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e1061-e1066.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to poor outcomes for patients. Researchers reviewed root cause analysis (RCA) reports to identify factors contributing to delays in diagnosis and treatment among surgical patients at the Veterans Health Administration. Of the 163 RCAs identified, 73% reflected delays in treatment, 15% reflected delays in diagnosis, and 12% reflected delays in surgery. Policies and processes (e.g., lack of standardized processes, procedures not followed correctly) was the largest contributing factor, followed by communication challenges, and equipment or supply issues.
Nehls N, Yap TS, Salant T, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001603.
Incomplete or delayed referrals from primary care providers to specialty care can cause diagnostic delays and patient harm. A systems engineering analysis was conducted to identify vulnerabilities in the referral process and develop a framework to close the loop between primary and specialty care. Low reliability processes, such as workarounds, were identified and human factors approaches were recommended to improve successful referral rates.
Kulju S, Morrish W, King LA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e290-e296.
Patient misidentification can lead to serious patient safety risks. Researchers used patient safety reports and root cause analyses (RCA) to characterize patient misidentification events in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The incidence of patient misidentification in inpatient and outpatient settings was similar and most commonly attributed to the absence of two unique patient identifiers. The authors identified three strategies to mitigate misidentification based on high-reliability principles: (1) develop policies for patient identification throughout the continuum of care, (2) develop policies to report and monitor patient misidentification measures, and (3) apply quality and process improvement tools to patient identification emphasizing use by front line staff.
Mills PD, Soncrant C, Gunnar W. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:567-576.
This retrospective analysis used root cause analysis reports of suicide events in VA hospitals to characterize suicide attempts and deaths and provide prevention recommendations. Recommendations include avoidance of environmental hazards, medication monitoring, control of firearms, and close observation.
Gunnar W, Soncrant C, Lynn MM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:255-258.
Retained surgical items (RSI) are considered ‘never events’ but continue to occur. In this study, researchers compared the RSI rate in Veterans Health (VA) surgery programs with (n=46) and without (n=91) surgical count technology and analyzed the resulting root cause analyses (RCA) for these events. The RSI rate was significantly higher in for the programs with surgical count technology compared to the programs without (1/18,221 vs. 1/30,593). Analysis of RCAs found the majority of incidents (64%) involved human factors issues (e.g., staffing changes during shifts, staff fatigue), policy/procedure failures (e.g., failure to perform methodical wound sweep) or communication errors.
The authors describe the results of a survey of anesthesiology chiefs designed to understand their perceptions of the Veterans Health Administration efforts surrounding the lessons learned process for adverse events occurring in anesthesia. Of participants who had been aware of lessons learned, 90% shared them with staff and 75% described changing or reinforcing safety behaviors.
The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum both consider wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgeries to be never events. Despite improvement approaches ranging from the Universal Protocol to nonpayment for the procedures themselves and any consequent care, these serious surgical errors continue to occur. This study measured the incidence of incorrect surgeries in Veterans Health Administration medical centers from 2010 to 2017. Surgical patient safety events resulting in harm were rare and declined by more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2017. Dentistry, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery had the highest incidence of in–operating room adverse events. Root cause analysis revealed that 29% of events could have been prevented with a correctly performed time-out. A WebM&M commentary examined an incident involving a wrong-side surgery.
Soncrant CM, Warner LJ, Neily J, et al. AORN J. 2018;108:386-397.
Root cause analysis has been widely promoted as a failure analysis tool for use in a variety of settings. This quality improvement project applied the method to patient falls in Veterans Health Administration operating rooms and developed recommendations to guide improvement. Areas of focus included team communication, restraint use, and staff education. An Annual Perspective provides insights regarding how to enhance root cause analysis to help investigate incidents and improve care.
Cherara L, Sculli GL, Paull DE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e991-e928.
This study examined reports stemming from retained guidewires, a never event, across Veterans Affairs hospitals. Common causes included inexperience, lack of checklists, and insufficient standardization. The authors recommend applying human factors approaches to prevent this adverse event.
Schwartz ME, Welsh DE, Paull DE, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2018;38:17-37.
Communication failures are known to contribute to medical errors. In the field of aviation, crew resource management is used to teach teamwork and effective communication. In this study, researchers evaluated the impact of a team training program developed by the Veterans Health Administration National Center for Patient Safety and modeled after crew resource management training. The Teamwork and Safety Climate Questionnaire was used to evaluate safety climate prior to and after the training. They found that scores on the 27-item survey increased on all questions from baseline to 1 year and conclude that this type of team training improves patient safety by enhancing teamwork and ensuring effective communication among clinicians. A PSNet perspective provides insights on team training.