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.
Metz VE, Ray GT, Palzes V, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2023;Epub Nov 6.
In response to the increasing opioid crisis, many medical associations, policy makers, and insurers have argued for dose reductions. However, when doses are reduced too quickly, patients may experience short- and long-term adverse events. Consistent with other studies, dose reductions higher than 30% were associated with higher odds of emergency department visits, opioid overdose, and all-cause mortality in the month following dose reduction.
Minors AM, Yusaf TC, Bentley SK, et al. Simul Healthc. 2023;18:226-231.
In situ simulations offer unique opportunities to improve teamwork and identify system vulnerabilities. This study examined risks – “no go” considerations - associated with in situ simulations focused on cardiac arrest in pregnancy and identified factors that could lead simulations to be canceled or postponed to ensure patient or staff safety.
Prisons present unique challenges in providing, as well as in measuring, safe patient care. This article describes structures and processes within prison systems that may contribute to avoidable harm, such as limited staffing and security to travel to healthcare appointments. The result is a two-tier definition taking into consideration the unique context of prison healthcare.
Obstetric and gynecologic (OB/GYN) physicians are frequently involved in malpractice lawsuits, some of which result in catastrophic payouts. This study categorized malpractice claims involving OB/GYN trainees (students, residents, and fellows) between 1986 and 2020. Cases are categorized by type of injury, patient outcome, category of error, outcome of lawsuit, and amount of settlement.
Thiele L, Flabouris A, Thompson C. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0269921.
Patient and family engagement is essential for safe healthcare. This single-site study found that while most clinicians perceived that patients and families are able to recognize clinical deterioration, clinicians expressed less favorable perceptions towards escalation processes when patients or families have concerns about clinical deterioration.
Wiering B, Lyratzopoulos G, Hamilton W, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:579-589.
Delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. This retrospective study linking data reflecting primary and secondary care as well as cancer registry data found that only 40% of patients presenting with common possible cancer features received an urgent referral to specialist care within 14 days. Findings revealed that a significant number of these patients developed cancer within one year.
Dawson R, Saulnier T, Campbell A, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2022;12:407-417.
Voluntary error reporting remains underutilized in many clinical settings despite its importance for organizational learning and improved patient safety. This pediatric health system implemented a new safety event management system (SEMS) aimed at increased usability, de-centralized event follow-up, and closed-loop communication. The new SEMS resulted in more event reporting and less staff time spent on each report.
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.
Petrosoniak A, Fan M, Hicks CM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:739-746.
Trauma resuscitation is a complex, specialized process with a high risk for errors. Researchers analyzed videotapes of in situ simulations to evaluate latent safety events occurring during trauma resuscitation. Themes influencing latent safety events related to physical workspace, mental model formation, equipment, unclear accountability, demands exceeding individuals’ capacity, and task-specific issues.
Scott IA, Hubbard RE, Crock C, et al. Intern Med J. 2021;51:488-493.
Sound critical thinking skills can help clinicians avoid cognitive biases and diagnostic errors. This article describes three critical thinking skills essential to effective clinical care – clinical reasoning, evidence-informed decision-making, and systems thinking – and approaches to develop these skills during clinician training.
Cheraghi-Sohi S, Holland F, Singh H, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:977-985.
Diagnostic error continues to be a source of preventable patient harm. The authors undertook a retrospective review of primary care consultations to identify incidence, origin and avoidable harm of missed diagnostic opportunities (MDO). Nearly three-quarters of MDO involved multiple process breakdowns (e.g., history taking, misinterpretation of diagnostic tests, or lack of follow up). Just over one third resulted in moderate to severe avoidable patient harm. Because the majority of MDO involve several contributing factors, interventions, including policy changes, should be multipronged.
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.
Cicci CD, Fudzie SS, Campbell-Bright S, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;78:736-742.
When patients are admitted to the intensive care unit, medication histories can be obtained from alternate sources. In this study, admission medication histories were obtained from family members or outpatient pharmacies, then compared with the history given by the patient once their delirium resolved or they were extubated. The most common type of discrepancy from both alternate sources was addition, followed by omission. Histories obtained from families had slightly fewer discrepancies, and most discrepancies were of low risk of harm.
Waldron KM, Schenkat DH, Rao KV, et al. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2021;78:552-555.
Health systems have needed to rapidly adapt processes to optimize safe care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article describes one pharmacy department’s experience integrating emergency preparedness and disaster management principles during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of a department-specific incident command and delineation of responsibilities among pharmacy leadership (e.g., who monitors PPE inventory, medication distribution, workflows).
Campbell AA, Harlan T, Campbell M, et al. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2021;53:333-342.
Using electronic health records, call light systems, and bar-code medication administration systems, this study examined the impact of six specific workload variables on nurses’ medication administration errors. At least one of the six variables was significantly associated with the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a near miss medication error in the majority of nurses. Because the specific variable(s) differed for each individual nurse, interventions addressing medication administration errors should be tailored to individual nurse risk factors.
Hodkinson A, Tyler N, Ashcroft DM, et al. BMC Med. 2020;18:313.
Medication errors represent a significant source of preventable harm. This large meta-analysis, including 81 studies, found that approximately 1 in 30 patients is exposed to preventable medication harm, and more than one-quarter of this harm is considered severe or life-threatening. Preventable medication harm occurred most frequently during medication prescribing and monitoring. The highest rates of preventable medication harm were seen in elderly patient care settings, intensive care, highly specialized or surgical care, and emergency medicine.
Avery AJ, Sheehan C, Bell BG, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:961-976.
Patient safety in primary care is an emerging focus for research and policy. The authors of this study retrospectively reviewed case notes from 14,407 primary care patients in the United Kingdom. Their analysis identified three primary types of avoidable harm in primary care – problems with diagnoses, medication-related problems, and delayed referrals. The authors suggest several methods to reduce avoidable harm in primary care, including optimizing existing information technology, enhanced team communication and coordination, and greater continuity of care.
Williams R, Jenkins DA, Ashcroft DM, et al. The Lancet Pub Health. 2020;5:e543-e550.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to patients delaying or forgoing necessary health care, which can contribute to diagnostic and treatment delays. This retrospective cohort study used primary care data to investigate the indirect effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary care health care use and subsequent diagnoses among residents in a poor, urban area in the United Kingdom. Between March and May 2020, there was a 50% reduction in expected diagnoses for mental health conditions, as well as substantial decreases in diagnoses and associated medication prescriptions for circulatory system diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Auerbach AD, Bates DW, Rao JK, et al, eds. Ann Intern Med. 2020;172(11_Supp):S69-S144.
Research and error reporting are important strategies to uncover problems in health system performance. This special issue highlights vendor transparency and context as important areas of focus to ensure electronic health records (EHR) research and reporting help improve system reliability. The articles cover topics such as a framework for research reporting, design of randomized controlled trials for technology studies, and designing research on patient portal enhancement.