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.
Carlile N, Fuller TE, Benneyan JC, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e1142-e1149.
The opioid epidemic has prompted national and institutional guidelines for safe opioid prescribing. This paper describes the development, implementation, and sustainment of a toolkit for safer opioid prescribing for chronic pain in primary care. The authors describe organizational, technical, and external barriers to implementation along with attempted solutions and their effects. The toolkit is available as supplemental material.
Atkinson MK, Benneyan JC, Bambury EA, et al. Health Care Manage Rev. 2022;47:E50-E61.
Patient safety learning laboratories (PSLL) encourage a cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach to problem solving. This study reports on how a learning ecosystem supported the success of three distinct PSLLs. Qualitative and quantitative results reveal four types of alignment and supporting practices that contribute to the success of the learning laboratories.
Liu L, Chien AT, Singer SJ. Health Care Manage Rev. 2022;47:360-368.
Work conditions can impact clinician satisfaction and the quality and safety of the care they provide. This study sought to identify the combination of systems features (team dynamics, provider-perceived safety culture, patient care coordination) that positively impact work satisfaction in primary care practices. Results showed a strong culture of safety combined with more effective team dynamics were sufficient to lead to improved work satisfaction.
Alsabri M, Boudi Z, Lauque D, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18: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.
Berry WR, Edmondson L, Gibbons LR, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1779-1786.
This study in the Health Affairs patient safety theme issue examines the implementation of surgical safety checklists. Checklists have been shown to improve patient outcomes in randomized control trials, but implementation studies have not consistently demonstrated similar improvements. In this statewide initiative, implementation of the checklist varied significantly among sites. Factors associated with more successful implementation included greater leadership participation, frontline engagement, and more frequent activities for all involved groups, including surgeons, nurses, technicians, and administrators. Sites that invested more funding and time also saw greater checklist implementation. The authors conclude that hospitals that participated more did better. Past PSNet interviews with Lucian Leape and David Urbach discussed their perspectives on surgical safety checklists.
Alidina S, Goldhaber-Fiebert SN, Hannenberg A, et al. Implement Sci. 2018;13:50.
Checklists have been shown to improve surgical outcomes in clinical trials, but their effectiveness in real-world settings is variable. This implementation study examined factors related to checklist use in the operating room for crises rather than routine practice. Investigators surveyed individuals who downloaded a checklist from two websites about whether they used a checklist regularly in specific clinical situations. Thorough checklist implementation, leadership support, and dedicated staff training time led to more regular use of the checklist. Conversely, frontline resistance and lack of clinical champions undermined checklist use. The authors conclude that optimizing organizational conditions should increase the use of checklists during crises in operating rooms. Past PSNet interviews with Lucian Leape and David Urbach discussed their perspectives on surgical safety checklists.
Vogus TJ, Singer SJ. Med Care Res Rev. 2016;73:660-672.
High reliability is a goal throughout health care. This commentary describes how lessons from high reliability organizations can be applied to accountable care organizations to enhance quality, reduce costs, and support population health. The authors describe ways to engage organizations in this work through mindfulness, leadership, and research.
Molina G, Berry WR, Lipsitz S, et al. Ann Surg. 2017;266:658-666.
Establishing a robust culture of safety, in which all staff feel free to voice concerns without fear of reprisal and leadership explicitly prioritizes safety, is crucial to safety improvement efforts. The most successful safety improvement programs have all explicitly prioritized enhancing safety culture. This study reports on the baseline results of a program that sought to improve surgical safety at hospitals in South Carolina. Safety culture was assessed among operating room personnel in 31 hospitals using a validated instrument. The investigators found a relatively robust association between better perceived safety culture and lower 30-day postoperative mortality. Studies in other clinical settings have found similar results. The hospitals involved in this study subsequently participated in a program to implement the Surgical Safety Checklist, which resulted in a significant improvement in mortality among participating hospitals compared to nonparticipating hospitals. A recent PSNet interview with Dr. Mary Dixon-Woods discussed the evolving concept of safety culture.
Schiff G, Nieva HR, Griswold P, et al. Med Care. 2017;55:797-805.
A recent AHRQ technical brief on ambulatory safety found that evidence for effective interventions is lacking. This cluster-randomized controlled trial examined whether participation in a multimodal quality improvement intervention enhanced safety processes at primary care clinics compared to usual practice. Using chart review, investigators determined that clinics receiving the intervention—which included a learning network, webinars, in-person meetings, and coaching—improved documentation and patient notification for abnormal test results overall. Also, time between test date and treatment plan was shorter in intervention sites. Through pre–post surveys, they learned that patient perceptions of quality and safety improved modestly for coordination and communication but were otherwise similar between the sites. Staff perceptions of safety and quality were similar pre–post and between intervention and control sites. Barriers to improvement included time and resource constraints, staff turnover, health information technology, and local practice variation. The authors recommend further study to determine the potential for multimodal practice-level interventions to enhance outpatient safety.
Haynes AB, Edmondson L, Lipsitz S, et al. Ann Surg. 2017;266:923-929.
Checklists have been shown to reduce surgical morbidity and mortality in randomized trials, but results of implementation in clinical settings have been mixed. This study reports on a voluntary, statewide collaborative program to implement a surgical safety checklist in South Carolina hospitals. Participating sites undertook a multifaceted process to support checklist implementation and culture change. Cross-institutional educational activities were available to all hospitals in the collaborative. Investigators determined that rates of surgical complications declined significantly in hospitals involved in the collaborative compared with those that did not participate, which had no change in postsurgical mortality over the same time frame. Past PSNet interviews with Lucian Leape and David Urbach discussed their perspectives on surgical safety checklists.
… model of culture implies that culture change doesn't happen through one big fix, but rather through a continuous … to help their organizations undertake the journey. … SaraJ. Singer, MBA, PhD … Professor Department of Health Policy …
This piece discusses the importance of strengthening safety culture in health care and offers insights for organizations seeking to achieve culture change.
Dr. Dixon-Woods is RAND Professor of Health Services Research at Cambridge University, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Quality and Safety, and one of the world's leading experts on the sociology of health care. We spoke with her about new ways to approach safety culture.
Schiff G, Nieva HR, Griswold P, et al. Health Serv Res. 2016;51 Suppl 3:2634-2641.
Prior research has shown that malpractice risk in the outpatient setting is significant and that claims frequently involve missed and delayed diagnoses. This editorial describes lessons learned from the Massachusetts PROMISES (Proactive Reduction of Outpatient Malpractice: Improving Safety, Efficiency, and Satisfaction) project. Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the PROMISES project involved a multipronged intervention within 16 randomly selected primary care practices to address known areas of risk in ambulatory care, including test result management, referrals, medication management, and communication issues. A previous PSNet perspective discussed how research may help improve the malpractice system.
Edmondson AC, Higgins M, Singer SJ, et al. Res Hum Dev. 2016;13:65-83.
Ensuring that workers feel comfortable raising concerns in an organization is crucial to facilitating learning from failures. Exploring how psychological safety influences staff communication about problems in education and health care, this commentary describes similar challenges in both settings associated with hierarchy, leadership, and professional roles. The authors outline areas of research needed to understand ways to improve transparency in each environment.
Song H, Ryan M, Tendulkar S, et al. Health Care Manage Rev. 2017;42:28-41.
Health care teams are seen as a key patient safety strategy. This mixed-methods study found that better team dynamics was associated with higher work satisfaction for attending primary care physicians. This finding suggests that enhancing teamwork may be one way to address primary care physician burnout.