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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 - 20 of 986 Results
Reyes AM, Royan R, Feinglass J, et al. JAMA Surg. 2023;Epub Jan 18.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to poor outcomes. In this population-based retrospective longitudinal study using inpatient and emergency department discharge data from four states, researchers found that non-Hispanic Black patients were at higher risk for delayed diagnosis of appendicitis compared to White patients. This increased risk for delayed diagnosis translated into higher risks for postoperative 30-day readmission rates. The researchers found that this risk was mitigated when Black patients received care at hospitals serving a more diverse patient population.
Agarwal AK, Sagan C, Gonzales R, et al. J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2022;3:e12870.
Black patients who report experiencing racism in healthcare report poorer quality of care. In this text-message based study, Black and White patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) were asked about their overall quality of care and whether they perceived an impact of their race on their care. While Black patients reported high overall quality of care, 10% believed their race negatively impacted their care. The authors highlight the importance of asking about the impact of race on care to identify and reduce potential disparities.
Greig PR, Zolger D, Onwochei DN, et al. Anaesthesia. 2022;Epub Dec 14.
Cognitive aids, such as checklists and decision aids, can reduce omissions in care and improve patient safety. This systematic review including 13 randomized trials found that cognitive aids in clinical emergencies reduced the incidence of missed care steps (from 43% to 11%) and medical errors, and improved teamwork, non-technical, and conflict resolution scores.

Abelson R. New York Times. December 15, 2022.

Emergency department safety is challenged by factors such as production pressure, burnout, and overcrowding. This news article provides context for the 2022 AHRQ report Diagnostic Errors in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review from the Johns Hopkins Medicine Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) which synthesized the number of patients harmed while seeking emergency care.
Bloomer A, Wally M, Bailey G, et al. Geriatr Orthop Surg Rehabil. 2022;13:215145932211256.
Opioid use by older adults increases the risk of falls. This study examined electronic health record data to determine the proportion of older adults presenting to the emergency room or urgent care due to a fall who receive an opioid prescription, particularly those with at least one risk factor for misuse. Nearly one third of patients received a prescription for an opioid and/or benzodiazepine, and 11% had at least one risk factor for misuse.
Erstad BL, Romero AV, Barletta JF. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2023;80:87-91.
Weight-based dosing is vulnerable to error due to inaccurate estimation of body weight, use of metric vs. non-metric units, or patients being underweight or overweight. This commentary suggests strategies for reducing weight- and size-based dosing errors including reduction in reliance on estimated body weight, standardizing descriptor (e.g., body mass index), limiting options in the electronic health record (EHR), and integrating complex calculations into the EHR.

Newman-Toker DE, Peterson SM, Badihian S, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; December 2022. AHRQ Publication No. 22(23)-EHC043.

Although diagnostic accuracy in the emergency department (ED) is high, diagnostic errors still occur. This evidence review estimated that 1 in 18 ED patients receive an incorrect diagnosis, which translates to 7.4 million patients misdiagnosed every year (or 5.7% of all ED visits annually). Five conditions were found to be most vulnerable to misdiagnosis: stroke, heart attack, aortic aneurysm/ dissection, spinal cord injury and blood clots. The evidence review identified variation in diagnostic error rates across demographic groups; female sex and non-White race were often associated with increased risk for diagnostic errors. Serious misdiagnosis-related harms were often associated with clinician bedside judgement and other cognitive failures. 
Feldman N, Volz N, Snow T, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manag. 2022;27:229-233.
Research with medical and surgical residents has shown they are frequently reluctant to speak up about safety and unprofessional behavior they observe. This study asked emergency medicine residents about their speaking up behaviors. Using the Speaking Up Climate (SUC)-Safe and SUC-Prof surveys, residents reported generally neutral responses to speaking up, more favorable than their medical and surgical counterparts. In line with other studies, residents were more likely to speak up about patient safety than about unprofessional behaviors.
Hoot NR, Barbosa TJ, Chan HK, et al. J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2022;3:e12849.
Previous research has suggested that increases in physician workloads can threaten patient safety. This retrospective study found that medical errors are higher among emergency medicine physicians with lower productivity, as measured by the number of patients seen per hour.
Rose SC, Ashari NA, Davies JM, et al. CJEM. 2022;24:695-701.
Debriefing is used to enhance individual and team communication and to facilitate real-time learning opportunities after a critical event. This study evaluated a charge nurse-facilitated clinical debriefing program used in Emergency Departments (EDs) in Alberta, Canada. Qualitative analyses identified several themes underscoring the impact of the debriefing program – the impacts on clinical practice and patient care, impacts on psychological safety and teamwork, stress management, and the emotional acknowledgement after critical events – and barriers to debriefing.
Ostrovsky D, Novack V, Smulowitz PB, et al. JAMA Network Open. 2022;5:e2241461.
Previous research has found that fear of malpractice can influence medical decision-making. This survey of emergency department attending physicians and advanced practice clinicians in Massachusetts found that fear of harming patients played a larger role in medical decision-making than fear of legal action.
Sibbald M, Abdulla B, Keuhl A, et al. JMIR Hum Factors. 2022;9:e39234.
Electronic differential diagnostic support (EDS) are decision aids that suggest one or more differential diagnoses based on clinical data entered by the clinician. The generated list may prompt the clinician to consider additional diagnoses. This study simulated the use of one EDS, Isabel, in the emergency department to identify barriers and supports to its effectiveness. Four themes emerged. Notably, some physicians thought the EDS-generated differentials could reduce bias while others suggested it could introduce bias.
Patient Safety Innovation November 16, 2022

Appropriate follow-up of incidental abnormal radiological findings is an ongoing patient safety challenge. Inadequate follow-up can contribute to missed or delayed diagnosis, potentially resulting in poorer patient outcomes. This study describes implementation of an electronic health record-based referral system for patients with incidental radiologic finding in the emergency room. 

Kunitomo K, Harada T, Watari T. BMC Emerg Med. 2022;22:148.
Cognitive biases can impede diagnostic decision-making and contribute to diagnostic delays and patient harm. This study explored the types of cognitive biases contributing to diagnostic errors in emergency rooms in Japan. The most common biases reported were overconfidence, confirmation bias, availability bias, and anchoring bias. Findings indicate that most diagnostic errors involved overlooking another disease in the same organ group or related organ (e.g., diagnosing headache rather than stroke).
Punj E, Collins A, Agravedi N, et al. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2022;10:e01007.
Pharmacists play an important role in preventing medication errors. This systematic review identified 17 studies showing that pharmacy teams working in acute or emergency medicine departments can reduce medication errors through medication reconciliation.
Roberts SE, Rosen CB, Keele LJ, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;157:1097-1104.
Missed steps in the diagnostic process, such as timely referral for surgical consultation, can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. This large, retrospective cohort study using Medicare data identified disparities between Black and White patients in receipt of consults for emergency surgery. Findings show that Black patients had lower odds of receiving a surgical consultation after being admitted from the emergency department; these disparities remained after adjusting for medical comorbidities, socioeconomic factors, and individual hospital-level effects.
Joseph MM, Mahajan P, Snow SK, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;150:e2022059673.
Children with emergent care needs are often cared for in complex situations that can diminish safety. This joint policy statement updates preceding recommendations to enhance the safety of care to children presenting at the emergency department. It expands on the application of topics within a high-reliability framework focusing on leadership, managerial factors, and organizational factors that support safety culture and workforce empowerment to support safe emergency care for children.
Arnaoutakis GJ, Ogami T, Aranda‐Michel E, et al. J Am Heart Assoc. 2022;11:e025026.
Missed diagnosis of aortic emergencies can result in patient death, therefore patients with presumed aortic syndromes may be transferred to aortic referral centers. Because interhospital transfers present their own risks, these researchers evaluated emergency transfers of patients who did not ultimately have a diagnosis of acute aortic dissection, intramural hematoma, penetrating aortic ulcer, thoracic aortic aneurysm, or aortic pseudoaneurysm. Approximately 11% of emergency transfers were misdiagnosed, secondary to imaging misinterpretation.
Curated Libraries
October 10, 2022
Selected PSNet materials for a general safety audience focusing on improvements in the diagnostic process and the strategies that support them to prevent diagnostic errors from harming patients.
Hunter J, Porter M, Williams B. Australas Emerg Care. 2022;Epub Aug 29.
Situational awareness (SA) requires recognizing situations, interpreting them, and predicting how the situation may unfold in the future. Paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMT) participated in a video simulation to assess their SA at each of the three stages. Quantitative results indicated the providers were not situationally aware during the simulation.