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.
Newman-Toker DE, Nassery N, Schaffer AC, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2023;Epub Jul 17.
Previous research has found that three diseases (vascular events, infections, and cancers) account for approximately 50% of all serious misdiagnosis-related harm. Based on a sample of 21.5 million US hospital discharges, the authors estimated that 795,000 adults in the US experience serious misdiagnosis-related harm (permanent morbidity or mortality) attributable to these three disease categories each year.
Cifra CL, Custer JW, Smith CM, et al. Crit Care Med. 2023;Epub May 29.
Diagnostic errors remain a major healthcare concern. This study was a retrospective record review of 882 pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) patients to identify diagnostic errors using the Revised Safer Dx tool. Diagnostic errors were found in 13 (1.5%) patients, most commonly associated with atypical presentation and diagnostic uncertainty at admission.
Liberman AL, Wang Z, Zhu Y, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2023;10:235-241.
Symptom–Disease Pair Analysis of Diagnostic Error (SPADE) is a framework to measure diagnostic errors using existing databases, such as electronic health records or administrative claims. The original developers of the SPADE framework provide additional guidance on types of comparator groups, how to select the appropriate group, and what inferences can be drawn from the analysis.
Dixon-Woods M, Aveling EL, Campbell A, et al. J Health Serv Res Policy. 2022;27:88-95.
A key aspect of patient safety culture is the perception that all team members should speak up about safety concerns. In this study of 165 frontline and senior leader participants, deciding to report a safety event (referred to as a “voiceable concern”) is influenced by four factors: certainty that something is wrong and is an occasion for voice; system versus conduct concerns, forgivability, and normalization. Organizational culture and context effect whether an incident is considered a voiceable concern.
Nassery N, Horberg MA, Rubenstein KB, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:469-478.
Building on prior research on missed myocardial infarction, this study used the SPADE approach to identify delays in sepsis diagnosis. Using claims data, researchers used a ‘look back’ analysis to identify treat-and-release emergency department (ED) visits in the month prior to sepsis hospitalizations and identify common diagnoses linked to downstream sepsis hospitalizations.
Gleason KT, Commodore-Mensah Y, Wu AW, et al. Nurse Educ Today. 2021;104:104984.
Massive online open courses (MOOCs) have the ability to reach a broad audience of learners. The Science of Safety in Healthcare MOOC was delivered in 2013 and 2014. At completion of the course, participants reported increased confidence on all six measured domains (teamwork, communication, managing risk, human environment, recognizing and responding, and culture). At 6 months post-completion, the majority agreed the content was useful and positively influenced their clinical practice, demonstrating that MOOCs are an effective interprofessional learning format.
Chang T-P, Bery AK, Wang Z, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2022;9:96-106.
A missed or delayed diagnosis of stroke increases the risk of permanent disability or death. This retrospective study compared rates of misdiagnosed stroke in patients presenting to general care or specialty care who were initially diagnosed with “benign dizziness”. Patients with dizziness who presented to general care were more likely to be misdiagnosed than those presenting to specialty care. Interventions to improve stroke diagnosis in emergency departments may also be successful in general care clinics.
Wu F, Dixon-Woods M, Aveling E-L, et al. Soc Sci Med. 2021;280:114050.
Reluctance of healthcare team members to speak up about concerns can hinder patient safety. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 165 participants (health system leadership, managers, healthcare providers, and staff) about policies, practice, and culture around voicing concerns related to quality and safety. Findings suggest that both formal and informal hierarchies can undermine the ability and desire of individuals to speak up, but that informal organization (such as personal relationships) can motivate and support speaking up behaviors.
Horberg MA, Nassery N, Rubenstein KB, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:479-488.
Missed or delayed diagnosis of sepsis can lead to serious patient harm. This study used a Symptom-Disease Pair Analysis of Diagnostic Error (SPADE) “look-forward” analysis to measure potential misdiagnosis of sepsis in patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) with treat-and-release fluid and electrolyte disorders (FED) or altered mental status (AMS). FED and AMS were associated with a spike in sepsis hospitalizations in the 7-day period following the ED visit. The authors suggest SPADE could be used to compare sepsis diagnostic performance across institutions and regions; develop interventions for targeted subgroups; and update early warning systems for sepsis diagnosis.
Yousef EA, Sutcliffe KM, McDonald KM, et al. Hum Factors. 2022;64:6-20.
Safe diagnosis is a complex challenge requiring multidisciplinary approaches. The authors of this article apply high-reliability organization principles to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) diagnostic process. The goal was to identify diagnostic challenges as well as strategies and solutions that diagnostic teams and organizations can use to optimize the diagnostic process and improve patient outcomes.
Diagnostic error is an ongoing patient safety challenge, and can be exacerbated by the hectic pace of the emergency department (ED). This study assessed the feasibility of the Leveraging Patient’s Experience to Improve Diagnosis (LEAPED) program to measure patient-reported diagnostic error after ED discharge. Across three EDs, patient uptake of the program was high. Findings show that 23% of patients did not receive an explanation of their health problem upon discharge, and one-quarter of those patients did not understand the next steps after leaving the ED.
Sharp AL, Baecker A, Nassery N, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:177-186.
The symptom-disease pair analysis of diagnostic error approach, or SPADE approach, measures diagnostic errors resulting in adverse events using two analytic pathways – the ‘look back’ analysis identifies symptoms associated with adverse events and identifies the symptom-specific harm rate per hospitalization and the ‘look forward’ analysis measures the disease-specific harm rate per symptomatic discharge. Using data from 2009 to 2017, this retrospective analysis looked at Emergency Department (ED) visits within 30 days of a hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) to identify symptoms linked to probable missed diagnoses. Within 30 days of a subsequent hospitalization for AMI, common ED discharge diagnoses included chest pain and dyspnea, representing 574 probable missed AMIs. The authors estimate that these results correspond to approximately 10,000 potentially-preventable harms annually in the United States.
Newman-Toker DE, Wang Z, Zhu Y, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:67-84.
Prior research based on claims data found that fifteen conditions related to vascular events, infections, and cancers (the ‘Big Three’) account for approximately 50% of all serious misdiagnosis-related harm. Based on a review of 28 studies representing over 91,000 patients, these authors estimated that the median diagnostic error rates for these conditions was 13.6%, ranging from 2.2% (myocardial infarction) to 62.1% (spinal abscess). The median serious misdiagnosis-related harm rate was estimated to be 5.5%, ranging from 1.2% (myocardial infarction) to 35.6% (spinal abscess).
Ischemic stroke, which often presents with non-specific symptoms and requires time-sensitive treatment, can be a source of diagnostic error and misdiagnosis. Using a large medical malpractice claims database, this study found that nearly half of all malpractice claims involving ischemic stroke included diagnostic errors, primarily originating in the ED. The analysis found that breakdowns in the initial patient-provider encounter (e.g., history and physical examination, symptom assessment, and ordering of diagnostic tests) contributed to most malpractice claims.
Ward M, Shé ÉN, De Brún A, et al. BMC Med Edu. 2019;19:232.
“Serious games” are becoming more prevalent in health care. This article describes a "serious game" PlayDecide for use of multidisciplinary healthcare teams in which the teams are presented with real-world case stories of events and incidents, incorporating the perspectives of healthcare professionals and patients. Players are tasked with exchanging and discussing perspectives and information, then working towards a shared group policy position around error reporting and patient safety. This study evaluated the use of the PlayDecide framework in two large urban academic medical centers and noted a significant change in error reporting behavior among junior faculty post-intervention.