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.
Fanikos J, Tawfik Y, Almheiri D, et al. Am J Med. 2023;136:927-936.
Anticoagulants are high-risk medications in both outpatient and inpatient settings. This study compared two time periods, both before and after implementation of anticoagulant safety programs, to assess changes in type, severity, root cause, and outcomes of adverse events in hospitalized patients. Despite numerous changes in procedures and technology, adverse events increased in the post-implementation period.
Tan J, Ross JM, Wright D, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2023;49:265-273.
Wrong-site surgery is considered a never event and can lead to serious patient harm. This analysis of closed medical malpractice claims on wrong-site surgery between 2013 and 2020 concluded that the risk of wrong-site surgery increases with spinal surgeries (e.g., spinal fusion, excision of intervertebral discs). The primary contributing factors to wrong-site surgery was failure to follow policy or protocols (such as failure to follow the Universal Protocol) and failure to review medical records.
Benishek LE, Kachalia A, Daugherty Biddison L. JAMA. 2023;329:1149-1150.
The quality and culture of the health care work environment is known to affect care delivery. This commentary discusses human-centered and participatory design approaches as avenues for developing improvements in clinician well-being that will enhance safety for staff, providers, and patients.
Tan J, Krishnan S, Vacanti JC, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;42:9-14.
Inpatient falls are a common patient safety event and can have serious consequences. This study used hospital safety reporting system data to characterize falls in perioperative settings. Falls represented 1% of all safety reports between 2014 and 2020 and most commonly involved falls from a bed or stretcher. The author suggests strategies to identify patients at high risk for falls, improve fall-related training for healthcare personnel, and optimize equipment design in perioperative areas to prevent falls.
Root cause analysis is a commonly used tool to identify systems-related factors that contributed to an adverse event. This study assessed a system-based approach, (i.e., collaborative case reviews (CCR) co-led by radiology and an institutional patient safety program) to identify contributing factors and explore the strength of recommended actions in the radiology department at a large academic medical center. Stronger action items, such as standardization of processes, were implemented in 41% of events, and radiology had higher completion rates than other hospital departments.
Li L, Foer D, Hallisey RK, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e108-e114.
Despite the introduction of computerized provider order entry into electronic health records, providers still frequently use free-text fields to communicate important information which introduces a patient safety risk. One healthcare system searched allergy-related free-text fields, identifying more than 242,000 entries. Approximately 131,000 were manually or automatically remediated (e.g., “latex from back brace” and “gloves” were coded “latex-natural rubber”).
Incident reporting systems are used to detect patient safety concerns and determine potential causes and opportunities for improvements. In the perioperative setting of one hospital, insufficient handoffs were the most common event type in the “coordination of care” category. Use of structured handoffs is recommended to improve communication and patient safety.
Ranum D, Beverly A, Shapiro FE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:513-521.
This analysis of medical malpractice claims identified four leading causes of anesthesia-related claims involving ambulatory surgery centers – dental injuries, pain, nerve damage, and death. The authors discuss the role of preoperative risk assessment, use of routine dental and airway assessment, adequate treatment of perioperative pain, and improving communication between patients and providers.
Wu AW, Sax H, Letaief M, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manag. 2020;25:137-141.
In this editorial, patient safety experts discuss threats to healthcare safety and quality due to the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., failures in infection prevention and control, diagnostic errors, issues with laboratory testing) and highlight positive changes and opportunities, such as improved care coordination, supply chain innovations, accelerated learning, expansion of telemedicine, and prioritizing the safety and well-being of health care workers.
Desai S, Eappen S, Murray K, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:715-714.
This article describes the implementation of a new system for identifying, communicating, and resolving safety reports pertaining to COVID-19 in one academic tertiary care center through the use of electronic safety reporting systems and daily huddles.
Sivashanker K, Mendu ML, Wickner PG, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:483-488.
This article describes the development of a COVID-19 exposure disclosure checklist which reflects five core competencies for effective disclosure conversations with patients and families. The authors discuss disclosure with persons who have limited English proficiency, undocumented and immigrant patients, and patients with specific health needs.
Wickner PG, Hartley T, Salmasian H, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:477-482.
The authors of this commentary propose a communication checklist for healthcare workers regarding potential health care-associated exposure to COVID-19. Key elements include identifying individuals responsible for communicating with and supporting potentially exposed health care workers; curtailing spread through timely disclosure and transparency; establishing clear guidance for health care workers and management; and providing essential resources for healthcare worker dealing with an exposure, such as peer support or remote work.
This study reviewed medical malpractice claims spanning a 10-year period involving deaths related to inpatient care. Two physicians completed a blinded review of the claim to determine whether there was major, minor or no discordance between the final clinical diagnoses and the pathological diagnoses ascertained at autopsy. The researchers found that 31% of claims demonstrated major discordance between autopsy and clinical findings. The most common diagnoses newly discovered on autopsy were infection or sepsis, pulmonary or air embolus, and coronary atherosclerosis. In addition, the researchers found that performing an autopsy was not associated with either the likelihood of payout on a malpractice or the median size of that payout. They conclude that physicians should not hesitate to advocate for autopsies to investigate unexpected in-hospital deaths.
Williams S, Fiumara K, Kachalia A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Saf. 2020;46:44-50.
A lack of closed-loop feedback systems has been identified as one contributor to underreporting of patient safety events. This paper describes one large academic medical center’s implementation of a Feedback to Reporter program in ambulatory care, which aimed to ensure feedback on safety reports is provided to reporting staff by managers. At baseline, 50% of staff who requested feedback ultimately received it; after three years, the rate of feedback to reporters had increased to 90%.
Mendu ML, Lu Y, Petersen A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29.
This paper discusses the implementation of a hospital-wide, automated electronic reporting system that was intended to capture real-time data about patient deaths and allows the front-line physicians and nurses to review incident data. Over a 7-year period, 91% of deaths resulted in a review, and 5% were considered preventable by the front-line clinicians. The retrospective study identified potential systems-level changes to improve care delivery and patient safety, particularly around communication, end of life care, and interhospital transfers.
Lacson R, Cochon L, Ip I, et al. J Am Coll Radiol. 2019;16:282-288.
This retrospective review of nearly 900 incident reports related to diagnostic imaging found that the most common type of safety problem was linked to the imaging procedure. Events associated with communicating abnormal results were less common but had a higher potential to harm patients. Most events had multiple contributing factors.
Desai S, Fiumara K, Kachalia A. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e84-e90.
Outpatient safety is gaining recognition as a focus of research and improvement efforts. This project report describes an ambulatory safety program at an academic health system that targeted reporting, safety culture measurement, medication safety, and test result management. Repeated tracking over a 5-year period revealed that failure to request feedback played a role in the modest incident and concern reporting captured by the program. Decentralizing reporting response responsibilities throughout the system significantly increased feedback activity.