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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 193 Results
Kramer DB, Yeh RW. JAMA. 2023;329:136-143.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays an important role in ensuring the safety of medical devices. In this cross-sectional study, researchers identified a high risk of future Class 1 FDA recall (the most serious recall designation, indicating serious risks to patient safety) among previously authorized devices (predicates) with prior Class 1 recalls.
Angel M, Bechard L, Pua YH, et al. Age Ageing. 2022;51:afac225.
People taking medications at home may have difficulty opening packaging which can result in improper, dangerous storage practices. This review includes 12 studies where participants were observed opening a variety of medication packages (e.g., blister packs, child-resistant containers). While all studies reported participant difficulty, no consistent contributory factors were identified, and the methodological quality of all studies was typically low. Additional research is required to encourage improvement in medication packaging.
Sutherland A, Jones MD, Howlett M, et al. Drug Saf. 2022;45:881-889.
Intravenous (IV) medication smart pumps can improve medication administration, but usability issues can compromise safety. This article outlines strategic recommendations regarding the implementation of smart pump technology to improve patient safety. Recommendations include standardization of infusion concentrations, improving drug libraries using a human-centered approach, and increasing stakeholder engagement.
Costin I-C, Marcu LG. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2022;178:103798.
Radiotherapy errors can be significant and sometimes fatal. This systematic review describes errors in patient set up based on verification systems, the immobilization devices used, and the patient’s positioning during breast cancer treatment. The advantages and drawbacks of the most common position verification systems, error types associated with immobilization systems, and the influence of treatment position are reviewed.
Giuliano KK, Blake JWC, Bittner NP, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:553-558.
Intravenous (IV) smart pumps can improve medication administration safety, but usability issues can compromise that safety. This study compared actual use of smart pumps to the manufacturer’s requirements for operation. Adherence to requirements was low and the authors present several recommendations to smart pump manufacturers. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued guidelines for safe use of smart pumps that address several of these safety concerns.
Quesenberry M. Patient Safety. 2022;4:6-9.
Medical devices intended to improve patient safety can unintentionally lead to patient harm. This patient safety alert draws attention to the risk of injury when hospital wheelchairs are used by staff, patients, or visitors who may not have training in safe use. Understanding the proper use of the wheelchair, particularly folding wheelchairs, is crucial to ensuring safety.
Health Affairs Forefront. 2022;August 26.
The safety of commercial aviation has been a model for health care, yet achieving their level of reliability has been evasive. This piece suggests that weaknesses in voluntary reporting, hazard communication, and human factors design, all of which are core to aviation's success, are contributing to the lack of similar success in health care.
Dzisko M, Lewandowska A, Wudarska B. Sensors (Basel). 2022;22:3536.
Interruptions and distractions in healthcare settings can inhibit safe care. This simulation study found that medical staff reaction time to changes in vital signs during stressful situations (telephone ringing, ambulance signal) was significantly slower than during non-stressful situations, which may increase the likelihood of medical errors.
Fawzy A, Wu TD, Wang K, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182:730-738.
Black and brown patients have experienced disproportionately poorer outcomes from COVID-19 infection as compared with white patients. This study found that patients who identified as Asian, Black, or Hispanic may not have received timely diagnosis or treatment due to inaccurately measured pulse oximetry (SpO2). These inaccuracies and discrepancies should be considered in COVID outcome research as well as other respiratory illnesses that rely on SpO2 measurement for treatment.

Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; April 5, 2022.

The challenge of medical device sterilization has shifted the design of some products with disposable elements in order to reduce opportunities for human error that increase infection potential during reuse. The publication supports the complete adoption of disposable duodenoscopes or scope components as a safety measure.
Fakih MG, Bufalino A, Sturm L, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2021;43:26-31.
Central line-associated blood steam infection (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) prevention were an important part of patient safety prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study compared CLABSI and CAUTI rates in 78 hospitals during the 12-month period prior to the pandemic and the first 6 months of the pandemic. CLABSI rates increased by 51% during the pandemic period, mainly in the ICU. CAUTI rates did not show significant changes.
Curated Libraries
January 14, 2022
The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety...
Coldewey B, Diruf A, Röhrig R, et al. Appl Ergon. 2021;98:103544.
Medical devices without user-friendly interface designs may contribute to patient complications. This review explores problems in the use and design of mechanical ventilators that challenge safe use. The authors provide recommendations to product engineers to improve safe ventilator design.

MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; October 12, 2021.

This announcement highlights the possibility of medication administration inaccuracy due to design characteristics of a low dose tip (LDT) syringe. Recommended cleaning methods and other actions for patients, families and clinicians are provided to protect dose precision when using these syringes.
US Food and Drug Administration. October 7, 2021.
Errors of commission during complex procedures can contribute to patient harm. Drawing from an analysis of medical device reports submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, this updated announcement seeks to raise awareness of common adverse events associated with surgical staplers and implantable staples. User-related problems include opening of the staple line, misapplied staples, and staple gun difficulties. Recommendations include ensuring availability of various staple sizes and avoiding use of staples on large blood vessels.

MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; August 20, 2021.

Delays in treatment due to device misuse or design flaws can result in patient harm. This recall announcement highlights the omission of instructions describing a distinct device feature that, if a surgeon is unaware of it, reduces emergent umbilical vein catheter placement safety. Two deaths have been reported due to problems with the device.
Lalani C, Kunwar EM, Kinard M, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181:1217-1223.
Medical device-associated errors are common and often result in preventable patient harm. Based on medical device adverse event data reported to the FDA, this study used natural language processing to identify events not classified as deaths even though the patient died. Findings suggest that approximately 17% of medical device events that resulted in death were classified in other categories.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. July 29, 2021;26(15);1-5.

Tubing misconnections have been associated with medication administration errors, and yet, design strategies to minimize these mistakes are only beginning to be uniformly implemented. This article shares the story of a contrast media administration error associated with communication and handoff errors. The piece recommends focusing on universal design standards to improve administration along with clinical steps to mitigate the potential for this type of error.