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.
Georgiou A, Li J, Thomas J, et al. Public Health Res Pract. 2023;33:e3332324.
Several systemic factors may hinder communication of test results to patients and clinicians. This article describes a research project in Australia, "Delivering safe and effective test result communication, management and follow-up." Along with previously identified test result communication challenges such as workflow and technology, this paper highlights the need for national thresholds for critical laboratory results.
Pavithra A, Mannion R, Sunderland N, et al. J Health Org Manag. 2022;36:245-271.
Speaking up behaviors among healthcare workers is indicative of psychological safety and a culture of safety. This survey of healthcare staff working at seven sites across one hospital network in Australia found that speaking up behaviors are influenced by whether staff feel empowered in their roles and supported by their peers and supervisors.
Westbrook JI, Li L, Raban MZ, et al. NPJ Digit Med. 2022;5:179.
Pediatric patients are particularly vulnerable to medication errors. This cluster randomized controlled trial examined the short- and long-term impacts of an electronic medication management (eMM) system implemented at one pediatric referral hospital in Australia. Findings suggest that eMM implementation did not reduce medication errors in the first 70 days of use, but researchers observed a decrease in medication errors one year after implementation, suggesting long-term benefits.
Mcmullan RD, Urwin R, Gates PJ, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33:mzab068.
Distractions in the operating room are common and can lead to errors. This systematic review including 27 studies found that distractions, interruptions, and disruptions in the operating room are associated with a range of negative outcomes. These include longer operative duration, impaired team performance, self-reported errors by colleagues, surgical errors, surgical site infections, and fewer patient safety checks.
Gates PJ, Hardie R-A, Raban MZ, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:167-176.
Electronic prescribing systems (such as computerized provider order entry) can aid in medication reconciliation and prevent medication errors. In this systematic review, the authors found variable evidence about the effectiveness of these systems for medication error and harm reduction. Included studies reported reductions in error rates, but implementation of electronic systems did not result in less patient harm.
Thomas J, Dahm MR, Li J, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020;27:1214–1224.
This qualitative study explored how clinicians ensure optimal management of diagnostic test results, a major patient safety concern. Thematic analyses identified strategies clinicians use to enhance test result management including paper-based manual processes, cognitive reminders, and adaptive use of electronic medical record functionality.
Koyama AK, Maddox C-SS, Li L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:595-603.
Medication administration errors are common and account for a significant fraction of medication errors. This systematic review examined the effect of medication double-checks on medication administration errors. Investigators identified 13 studies (3 were considered high-quality) that demonstrated variable adherence to double-checking protocols. Only one high-quality study showed improvement in medication administration error rates when a double-check took place. No studies demonstrated differences in patient harm with double-checking compared to usual medication administration practice. The authors call for higher-quality studies to determine whether the time-intensive practice of double-checking medication administration confers a meaningful safety benefit. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving a nurse who bypassed the double-check policy for verifying the order prior to administration, which led to a medication administration error.
Gates PJ, Baysari M, Mumford V, et al. Drug Saf. 2019;42:931-939.
Consistent measures and terminology of care-related patient harm are still needed in health care. This commentary reviews inconsistencies in the nomenclature used in studies of harm as well as limitations of existing harm classification tools. The authors propose a tool that provides a process for developing a standard classification score to record medication-related patient harm.
Georgiou A, Li J, Thomas J, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2019;26:678-688.
This review examined whether use of health information technology could improve physician awareness of actionable test results and follow-up of test results. The included studies were of variable quality, and though some did demonstrate improvement in test result management using health information technology, there was no consistent effect. The authors conclude that health information technology alone is not sufficient to close safety gaps in test result management.
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.
Gates PJ, Meyerson SA, Baysari M, et al. Drug Saf. 2019;42:13-25.
This meta-analysis examined the role of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) in preventing pediatric dosing errors. Combining the results of 9 studies, researchers estimate that about 5% of pediatric inpatient medication orders contain a dosing error, but it is unclear whether CPOE reduces pediatric dosing errors. The authors call for further studies with controlled designs to determine the effectiveness of CPOE on improving pediatric medication dosing.
Gates PJ, Meyerson SA, Baysari M, et al. Pediatrics. 2018;142:e20180805.
Pediatric medication errors remain an important focus of safety initiatives. This systematic review examined the extent of preventable patient harm from medication errors for pediatric inpatients. The 22 included studies reported incidence rates ranging from 0 to 74 preventable adverse drug events per 1000 inpatient days. Across all studies, most errors were minor and did not result in patient harm. Use of health information technology was associated with less harm. Emphasizing the challenges of detecting and reporting errors, a related editorial calls for standardizing descriptions of preventable adverse events and harm in pediatrics. A WebM&M commentary addressed the high potential for weight-based medication errors in pediatrics and provided recommendations to help mitigate this risk.
Westbrook JI, Raban MZ, Walter SR, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:655-663.
This direct observation study of emergency physicians found that interruptions, multitasking, and poor sleep were associated with making more medication prescribing errors. These results add to the evidence that clinical environments prone to interruptions may pose a safety risk.
Prgomet M, Li L, Niazkhani Z, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017;24:413-422.
While prior research has shown that computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support systems have the potential to improve patient safety, less is known about the impact of such systems in intensive care units. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, investigators found an 85% decrease in prescribing errors and a 12% reduction in ICU mortality rates in critical care units that converted from paper orders to commercially available computerized provider order entry systems.
Douglas HE, Raban MZ, Walter SR, et al. Appl Ergon. 2017;59:45-55.
Multitasking is thought to impair cognition, which in turn affects patient safety. This review found that studies of multitasking in health care rely on direct observation, whereas other fields such as cognitive psychology have used simulation experiments. The authors propose applying lessons from other fields to patient safety.
Larcos G, Prgomet M, Georgiou A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017;26:466-474.
Prior research demonstrates that interruptions in health care can compromise patient safety. In this study, researchers observed interruptions experienced by nuclear medicine technologists in their work environment and found that some interruptions were helpful. In addition, technologists had developed personal strategies to optimize for safety.
Sinsky CA, Colligan L, Li L, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2016;165.
Time spent with the electronic health record and performing administrative tasks has been linked to physician burnout, an important patient safety problem. This study used direct observation and time diaries to characterize the work of outpatient physicians. Investigators found that physicians spent about one-quarter of their time face-to-face with patients. Nearly half their work day was spent using the electronic health record and doing desk work. Participating clinicians spent 1–2 additional hours on the electronic health record at night. A PSNet interview with lead author Christine Sinsky calls for improving physician work satisfaction in order to improve patient safety.