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.
Barrett AK, Sandbrink F, Mardian A, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:4037-4046.
Opioid medication use is associated with an increased risk of adverse events; however research has shown sudden discontinuation of opioids is also associated with adverse events such as withdrawal and hospitalization. This before and after study evaluated the impact of the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) on characteristics and prescribing practices. Results indicate that length of tapering period increased, and mortality risk decreased following OSI implementation.
Doctor JN, Stewart E, Lev R, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6:e2249877.
Research has shown that prescribers who are notified of a patient’s fatal opioid overdose will decrease milligram morphine equivalents (MME) up to 3 months following notification as compared to prescribers who are not notified. This article reports on the same cohort’s prescribing behavior at 4-12 months. Among prescribers who received notification, total weekly MME continued to decrease more than the control group during the 4-12 month period.
Bell SK, Bourgeois FC, Dong J, et al. Milbank Q. 2022;100:1121-1165.
Patients who access their electronic health record (EHR) through a patient portal have identified clinically relevant errors such as allergies, medications, or diagnostic errors. This study focused on patient-identified diagnostic safety blind spots in ambulatory care clinical notes. The largest category of blind spots was diagnostic misalignment. Many patients indicated they reported the errors to the clinicians, suggesting shared notes may increase patient and family engagement in safety.
Gleeson LL, Clyne B, Barlow JW, et al. Int J Pharm Pract. 2023;30:495-506.
Remote delivery of care, such as telehealth and e-prescribing, increased sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This rapid review was conducted to determine the types and frequency of medication safety incidents associated with remote delivery of primary care prior to the pandemic. Fifteen articles were identified covering medication safety and e-prescribing; none of these studies associated medication safety and telehealth.
Rodgers S, Taylor AC, Roberts SA, et al. PLoS Med. 2022;19:e1004133.
Previous research found that a pharmacist-led information technology intervention (PINCER) reduced dangerous prescribing (i.e., medication monitoring and drug-disease errors) among a subset of primary care practices in the United Kingdom (UK). This longitudinal analysis examined the impact of the PINCER intervention after implementation across a large proportion of general practices in one region in the UK. Researchers found the PINCER intervention decreased dangerous prescribing by 17% and 15% at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups, particularly among dangerous prescribing related to gastrointestinal bleeding.
Zigman Suchsland M, Kowalski L, Burkhardt HA, et al. Cancers (Basel). 2022;14:5756.
Delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancer is a serious patient safety problem. This retrospective study including 711 patients diagnosed with lung cancer used electronic health records and natural language processing (NLP) to identify relevant signs and symptoms in the two years prior to their cancer diagnosis. Researchers found that NLP can identify signs and symptoms associated with lung cancer over a year prior to diagnosis.
Svedahl ER, Pape K, Austad B, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Dec 15.
Inappropriate referrals and unnecessary hospital admissions are ongoing patient safety problems. This cohort study set in Norway examined the impact of emergency physician referral thresholds from out-of-hours services on patient outcomes.
Carlile N, Fuller TE, Benneyan JC, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e1142-e1149.
The opioid epidemic has prompted national and institutional guidelines for safe opioid prescribing. This paper describes the development, implementation, and sustainment of a toolkit for safer opioid prescribing for chronic pain in primary care. The authors describe organizational, technical, and external barriers to implementation along with attempted solutions and their effects. The toolkit is available as supplemental material.
Childs E, Tano CA, Mikosz CA, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2023;49:26-33.
In response to the increase in opioid deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in 2016, with an update released in 2022. This study reports on the CDC Opioid QI Collaborative which was launched to identify successful evidence-based strategies for implementing the guidelines. The challenges and strategies described in the publication can be used by health systems to accelerate implementation of the guidelines.
Ahmajärvi K, Isoherranen K, Venermo M. BMJ Open. 2022;12:e062673.
Diagnostic errors continue to be a source of patient harm. This retrospective study identified patient- and organizational-level factors contributing to misdiagnosis of chronic wounds in primary care. Less than half of patients referred from primary care to specialist wound care teams had the correct diagnosis. Notably, 36% of patients who presented to primary care had signs of infection, however 61% received antibiotics, raising concerns of antibiotic overuse.
Wallerstedt SM, Svensson SA, Lönnbro J, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2236757.
Criteria, such as the Screening Tool of Older Persons' Prescriptions (STOPP)/Screening Tool to Alert to Right Treatment (START) criteria, are tools used by clinicians to identify potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIM) and potential prescribing omissions (PPOs) among older adult patients. In this study, researchers evaluated three PIM/PPO criteria sets and found that all three performed poorly as diagnostic tools to identify inadequate drug treatment in older patients compared to counting the number of drugs on the patient’s medication list.
Pagani K, Lukac D, Olbricht SM, et al. Arch Dermatol Res. 2022;Epub Nov 10.
Delayed referrals from primary care providers to specialty care can lead to delayed diagnoses and patient harm. This retrospective analysis examined differences in timely versus delayed referrals for urgent skin cancer evaluations at one institution. Among 320 referrals occurring in 2018, 38% of evaluations occurred 31 days or more after the referral and nearly 11% of referrals were never completed. Delayed referrals were more common among patients who did not speak English and racial/ethnic minorities.
Darley S, Coulson T, Peek N, et al. J Med Internet Res. 2022;24:e37436.
Electronic communication between patients and clinicians has been increasing, with a rapid expansion of its use during the COVID-19 pandemic. This systematic review examined the types of online consultation available to patients in primary care and their impact on safety. Results reveal both positive and negative impacts, and the authors make recommendations to mitigate the negative impacts.
Dowell D, Ragan KR, Jones CM, et al. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2022;71:1-95.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines for safe opioid prescribing for chronic pain. Based on an updated evidence review, the CDC has revised the guidelines and released the Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain - United States, 2022, include recommendations for outpatient acute, subacute, and chronic opioid use. The twelve recommendations fall into four broad categories: determining whether or not to initiate opioids for pain; selecting opioids and determining opioid dosages; deciding duration of initial opioid prescription and conducting follow-up; and assessing risk and addressing potential harms of opioid use. The CDC will update and develop tools and resources to support dissemination of these guidelines.
The recommendations do not apply to pain related to sickle cell disease or cancer or to patients receiving palliative or end-of-life care, or for patients in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital.
Silva B, Ožvačić Adžić Z, Vanden Bussche P, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:10515.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatic changes in healthcare delivery. The multi-country PRICOV-19 study evaluated how primary care practices reorganized their day-to-day work during the pandemic and the impacts on patient safety culture. This study compared training vs. non-training primary care practices and found that training practices had a stronger safety culture during the pandemic.
Turner A, Morris R, McDonagh L, et al. Br J Gen Pract. 2022;73:e67-e74.
Patient access to electronic health records can improve engagement in care. This qualitative study involving patients and staff at general practices in the United Kingdom highlighted unintended consequences of online access to health records, including challenges with patient health literacy, decreased quality of documentation, and increases in staff workload.
Laing L, Salema N-E, Jeffries M, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0275633.
Previous research found that the pharmacist-led IT-based intervention to reduce clinically important medication errors (PINCER) can reduce prescription and medication monitoring errors. This qualitative study explored patients’ perceived acceptability of the PINCER intervention in primary care. Overall perceptions were positive, but participants noted that PINCER acceptability can be improved through enhanced patient-pharmacist relationships, consistent delivery of PINCER-related care, and synchronization of medication reviews with prescription renewals.
Wong J, Lee S-Y, Sarkar U, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:2230-2243.
Medication errors in ambulatory care settings represent an ongoing patient safety challenge. This study characterizes ambulatory care adverse drug events reported to a large patient safety organization between May 2012 and October 2018. Anticoagulants, antibiotics, hypoglycemics, and opioids were the most commonly involved medication classes. Contributing factors included prescribing errors, failure to review clinical contraindications or drug-drug interactions, and lack of patient education or communication.
Lagu T, Haywood C, Reimold KE, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2022;41:1387-1395.
People with disabilities face barriers to safe, equitable care such as inaccessible equipment and facilities or provider bias. In this study, primary care and specialist physicians described challenges with caring for patients with disabilities. Many expressed explicit biases such as reluctance to care for people with disabilities, invest in accessible equipment, or obtain continuing education to provide appropriate care.
Sacarny A, Safran E, Steffel M, et al. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3:e223378.
Concurrent prescribing of opioids and benzodiazepines can put patients at increased risk of overdose. This randomized study found that pharmacist email alerts to clinicians caring for patients recently co-prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines did not reduce concurrent prescribing of these medications.
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