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The PSNet Collection: All Content

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.

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Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 Results
Chopra V, O'Malley M, Horowitz J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:23-30.
Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) represent a key source of preventable harm. Using the Michigan Appropriateness Guide for Intravenous Catheters (MAGIC), the authors sought to determine if the appropriateness of PICC use decreased related medical complications including catheter occlusion, venous thromboembolism, and central line-associated bloodstream infections. Use of MAGIC in 52 Michigan hospitals increased appropriate use of PICC lines and decreased medical complications. In a 2019 PSNet Perspective, Dr. Vineet Chopra described the development and implementation of MAGIC in Michigan hospitals.  
Fleischman W, Ciliberto B, Rozanski N, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2020;38:1072-1076.
In this prospective study, researchers conducted direct observations in one urban, academic Emergency Department (ED) to determine whether and which ED monitor alarms led to observable changes in patients’ care. During 53 hours of observation, there were 1,049 alarms associated with 146 patients, resulting in clinical management changes in 5 patients. Researchers observed that staff did not observably respond to nearly two-thirds of alarms, which may be a sign of alarm fatigue.
WebM&M Case February 1, 2019
A woman was admitted to a hospital's telemetry floor for management of uncontrolled hypertension and palpitations. On the first hospital day, she complained of right arm numbness and weakness and had new difficulty answering questions. The nurse called the hospitalist and relayed the arm symptoms, but not the word-finding difficulty. The hospitalist asked the nurse to call for a neurology consultation. Four hours later, the patient's weakness had progressed; she was now completely unable to move her right arm.
Gupta A, Snyder A, Kachalia A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017;27:53-60.
Characterization of diagnostic error in the hospital setting has traditionally relied on data from autopsy studies, but the continuing decline in autopsy rates necessitates identification of diagnostic errors through other data sources. In this study, investigators utilized the National Practitioner Data Bank to examine the incidence and severity of inpatient diagnostic error and estimate the clinical and economic consequences of these errors. Diagnostic error accounted for 22% of paid malpractice claims over a 12-year period, resulting in $5.7 billion in payments, and the incidence of claims due to failure to diagnose increased over time. Paid claims due to diagnostic error were more likely to be for male patients older than 50, compared with other types of paid claims. Consistent with other studies, a small proportion (9%) of physicians accounted for a large proportion (51%) of payments. Although paid malpractice claims data have important limitations, this study advances our understanding of the epidemiology of diagnostic error among hospitalized patients and insights into possible preventive mechanisms.
Auerbach AD, Kripalani S, Vasilevskis EE, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176:484-93.
Preventing readmissions is a cornerstone of patient safety efforts. However, one concern about nonpayment for readmissions is that many may not be preventable. To determine whether they were preventable, this observational study investigated readmissions through patient and physician surveys along with chart review. Researchers determined that only one quarter of readmissions were preventable. Factors associated with potential preventability were premature hospital discharge, insufficient communication with outpatient providers, failure to discuss care goals, and emergency department decisions to readmit a patient who did not require a second inpatient stay. These results suggest that multiple interventions will be needed to avert readmissions, and such efforts will have limited impact since most readmissions are not preventable.
Chopra V, Govindan S, Kuhn L, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161:562-7.
Catheter-associated infections are common, and largely preventable, adverse events. Though incidence of these events has declined due to intensive safety efforts, one factor contributing to intravenous catheter infections is the failure to remove unnecessary central venous catheters (CVCs). This study sought to determine whether inpatient physicians know which of their patients have CVCs in place by comparing physician response to direct observation of each patient. Physicians were unaware of CVCs in about 20% of the cases examined. Trainee physicians were more likely to be aware of a CVC than teaching attending physicians or hospitalists, and critical care physicians were more likely to know about a CVC than general medicine physicians. These findings suggest that interventions to reduce CVC-associated infections should address clinician awareness of CVCs. An AHRQ WebM&M commentary discusses best practices for removing CVCs.
WebM&M Case April 1, 2014
Following a hospitalization for Clostridium Difficile–associated diarrhea, a woman with HIV/AIDS and B-cell lymphoma was discharged with a prescription for a 14-day course of oral vancomycin solution. At her regular retail pharmacy, she was unable to obtain the medicine, and while awaiting coverage approval, she received no treatment. Her symptoms soon returned, prompting an emergency department visit where she was diagnosed with toxic megacolon.
WebM&M Case November 1, 2012
A 32-year-old man went to the emergency department with fever and pleuritic chest pain. Following an extensive work-up, he was discharged with "fever, pleural effusion, and chest wall pain", but no clear diagnosis. He returned to the ED 3 days later with worsening pain, continued fever, a new cough, and dyspnea. The patient was started on antibiotics and admitted for pneumonia with effusion.
Walker PC, Bernstein SJ, Jones JNT, et al. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:2003-10.
Medication errors are a leading contributor to adverse events after hospital discharge, and prior studies have demonstrated a high incidence of inadvertent medication discrepancies at the time of discharge. Pharmacist involvement in inpatient care is a proven strategy to improve safety, and a pharmacist-led medication reconciliation and education process successfully reduced medication errors and hospital readmissions in a prior study. In this trial, while the involvement of a pharmacist in medication teaching, medication reconciliation, communication of medication changes to outpatient physicians, and post-discharge telephone follow-up with patients did appear to reduce medication discrepancies, it had no impact on rates of readmissions and emergency department visits. This finding may indicate that more comprehensive discharge interventions may be necessary in order to reduce the risk of readmission.
Wachter R, Flanders S, Fee C, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2008;149:29-32.
Efforts to improve the quality and safety of care are being driven in part by a growing focus on public reporting. This commentary shares the potential for the unintended consequences of reporting on flawed performance measures, using time to first antibiotic dose (TFAD) in patients with pneumonia as an example. The authors discuss the background data for this particular quality measure, how it was translated into a performance standard, and the response it generated from emergency departments as well as payers, regulators, and professional societies. The authors conclude with a number of lessons learned from this case example, including the tension that results from having providers balance their desire to do the right thing with the public's view of their quality of care when they are in conflict with each other. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed the unintended consequences of achieving a good report card on such measures.
Perspective on Safety September 1, 2005
In Drs. Flanders and Saint’s otherwise superb summary and review of the use of root cause analysis to identify systems’ vulnerabilities and improve overall patient care delivery, I was surprised by their statement that RCAs are “performed by a team with...
In Drs. Flanders and Saint’s otherwise superb summary and review of the use of root cause analysis to identify systems’ vulnerabilities and improve overall patient care delivery, I was surprised by their statement that RCAs are “performed by a team with...