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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 52 Results
Olsen SL, Søreide E, Hansen BS. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:717-721.
Rapid response systems (RRS) are widely used to identify signs of rapid deterioration among hospitalized patients.  Using in situ simulation, researchers identified obstacles to effective RRS execution, including inconsistent education and documentation, lack of interpersonal trust, and low psychological safety.
Hartstein B, Munante M, Toor PA. NEJM Catalyst. 2022;3:e1-e20.
High-reliability organizations (HROs) are able to “manage the unexpected” while operating under challenging conditions. This article describes the U.S. Medical Department’s systemwide rollout of the Top Six HRO communication practices. The authors summarize how the Top Six campaign was developed and discuss the implementation of six systemwide initiatives to increase reliability – (1) daily safety briefings; (2) safety leadership rounds; (3) unit-based huddles; (4) Situation Background Assessment Recommendation (SBAR) for communication; (5) briefs and debriefs for surgical cases; and (6) Universal Protocol before every procedure.
Murata M, Nakagawa N, Kawasaki T, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2022;52:13-19.
Transporting critically ill patients within a hospital (e.g., to radiology for diagnostic procedures) is necessary but also poses safety threats. The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all types of adverse events, critical or life-threatening adverse events, and death occurring during intra-hospital transport. Results indicate that adverse events can occur in intra-hospital transport, and that frequency of critical adverse events and death are low.
Lo L, Rotteau L, Shojania KG. BMJ Open. 2021;11:e055247.
Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) is a mnemonic technique used to avoid communication failures during handoffs. This systematic review found that fidelity with SBAR is highest in classroom settings, but that studies in clinical contexts either did not achieve sufficient improvements in fidelity or did not assess fidelity.
WebM&M Case November 25, 2020

After a failed induction at 36 weeks, a 26-year-old woman underwent cesarean delivery which was complicated by significant postpartum hemorrhage. The next day, the patient complained of severe perineal and abdominal pain, which the obstetric team attributed to prolonged pushing during labor. The team was primarily concerned about hypotension, which was thought to be due to hypovolemia from peri-operative blood loss. After several hours, the patient was transferred to the medical intensive care unit (ICU) with persistent hypotension and severe abdominal and perineal pain. She underwent surge

WebM&M Case April 29, 2020
A patient with progressive mixed respiratory failure was admitted to the step-down unit despite the physician team’s request to send the patient to the ICU. The case reveals issues of power dynamics, hierarchies, and implicit bias as young female physicians interact with experienced male members in the interdisciplinary team.
WebM&M Case April 29, 2020
A 54-year old women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was admitted for chronic respiratory failure. Due to severe hypoxemia, she was intubated, mechanically ventilated and required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). During the hospitalization, she developed clotting problems, which necessitated transfer to the operating room to change one of the ECMO components. On the way back to the intensive care unit, a piece of equipment became snagged on the elevator door and the system alarmed.
Buljac-Samardzic M, Doekhie KD, van Wijngaarden JDH. Hum Resourc Health. 2020;18.
This systematic review is an update of prior research characterizing the evidence base on team effectiveness in healthcare organizations. The review analyzed 297 publications focused on three types of interventions: (1) training, including crew resource management, TeamSTEPPS and simulations, (2) tools, including SBARs and checklists, and (3) organizational (re)designs, which involves intervening in structures which lead to improved team functioning (such as changing the physical environment or altering roles/responsibilities). The authors found that existing evidence base is limited to certain interventions, settings (primarily acute care), and outcomes (primarily non-technical skills). The authors call for more longitudinal research, particularly examining team functioning outside the hospital setting.
Patient Safety Primer September 7, 2019
Clear and high-quality communication between all staff involved in caring for a patient is essential in order to achieve situational awareness. Breakdowns in communication are closely tied to preventable adverse events in hospitalized and ambulatory patients.
Boston, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2019.
This toolkit provides access to nine key tools to help organizations improve teamwork, incident analysis, and communication as well as templates to support their use and instructions to begin associated processes. Featured tools include the Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation approach, huddle agendas, and failure modes and effects analysis.
Campbell D, Dontje K. Journal of emergency nursing: JEN : official publication of the Emergency Department Nurses Association. 2019;45:149-154.
Handoffs in the emergency department are vulnerable to error. This commentary describes an improvement initiative that focused on structuring nurse shift change using situation, background, assessment, recommendation (SBAR) communication methods. Although safety culture scores improved, the authors note that resistance to change was a key barrier to implementation.
Shahid S, Thomas S. Saf Health. 2018;4.
Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) is a mnemonic used to structure information sharing to avoid communication failures during handoffs. This review examines the challenges and benefits associated with SBAR use and provides a comparative assessment with other standardized communication tools in the field.
Lo H-Y, Mullan PC, Lye C, et al. BMJ Qual Improv Rep. 2016;5.
Patient handoffs are vulnerable to errors of omission. This quality improvement project designed and implemented a checklist as a way to standardize the process of pediatric handoffs. The program found the tool to be effective in uncovering problems and physicians felt the checklist supported situational awareness and patient safety.
MacDougall-Davis SR, Kettley L, Cook TM. Anaesthesia. 2016;71:764-72.
SBAR has been widely implemented to improve communication in health care settings. This simulation study compared the use of SBAR with a newly developed Traffic Lights tool to assess the communication between anesthesia teams in different operating rooms in 12 validated clinical scenarios. The authors found that the new tool yielded more accurate information transfer, took less time to use, and was preferred by the majority of study participants.
Randmaa M, Swenne CL, Mårtensson G, et al. Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2016;33:172-8.
The SBAR (situation-background-assessment-recommendation) method is commonly used to ensure high-quality communication between clinicians in acute situations. However, this study found that use of SBAR did not improve recall of critical communications during handover from the operating room to the postanesthesia care unit.
Randmaa M, Mårtensson G, Swenne CL, et al. BMJ Open. 2014;4:e004268.
Introduction of the SBAR (situation-background-assessment-recommendation) communication tool at two anesthesia clinics led to significant improvements in perceptions of safety climate and between-group communication. By including a comparison group, this study used a more robust assessment design than most prior SBAR research.
Dawson S, King L, Grantham H. Emerg Med Australas. 2015;25:393-405.
Handoffs between care settings can lead to adverse events. This literature review analyzed 17 studies of handoffs between prehospital first responders and emergency department (ED) staff. Safety gaps detected included communication barriers, lack of a structured communication tool, and unclear identification of the receiving clinical staff. The authors suggest that a structured handoff tool could improve first responder–ED handoffs. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed communication failures between providers and highlighted a need for standard handoff protocols.
Joffe E, Turley JP, Hwang KO, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2013;39:495-501.
The SBAR (situation, background, assessment, recommendation) communication tool has been implemented in an effort to improve nurse–physician communication, particularly by telephone. For this simulation study, 20 nurse–physician pairs were enrolled and the nurse in each pair was randomized to receive six written clinical scenarios to convey to the physician (three using the SBAR format, three in the usual format). Investigators found that relevant information was often not communicated by the nurse nor elicited by physicians, and use of SBAR did not improve communication.