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Grailey K, Leon-Villapalos C, Murray E, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11(8):e046699.
Psychological safety enables staff to raise concerns, reduce mistakes and learn from errors. The majority of surveyed intensive care unit staff in three units within one trust in London reported feeling psychologically safe within their teams (e.g. being able to bring up problems). In a novel finding, this study identified potential negative consequences of psychological safety, including distraction and fatigue for team leaders.
Kaya GK. Appl Ergon. 2021;94:103408.
A systems approach provides a framework to analyze errors and improve safety. This study uses the Systems Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) to analyze risks related to pediatric sepsis treatment process. Fifty-four safety recommendations were identified, the majority of which were organizational factors (e.g., communication, organizational culture).
Pilosof NP, Barrett M, Oborn E, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(16):8391.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to dramatic changes in healthcare delivery. Based on semi-structured interviews and direct observations, researchers evaluated the impact of a new model of remote inpatient care using telemedicine technologies in response to the pandemic. Intensive care and internal medicine units were divided into contaminated and clean zones and an integrated control room with audio-visual technologies allowed for remote supervision, communication, and support. The authors conclude that this model can increase flexibility in staffing via remote consultations and allow staff to supervise and monitor more patients without compromising patient and staff safety.

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.
Urquhart A, Yardley S, Thomas E, et al. J R Soc Med. 2021;Epub Aug 4.
This mixed-methods study analyzed patient safety incident reports between 2005-2015 to characterize the most frequently reported incidents resulting in severe harm or death in acute medical units. Of the 377 included reports, diagnostic errors, medication-related errors, and failure to monitor patient incidents were most common. Patients were at highest risk during handoffs and transitions of care. Lack of active decision-making during admission and communication failures were the most common contributors to incidents.
Marziliano A, Burns E, Chauhan L, et al. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021;Epub Jul 19.
Many COVID-19 patients present with atypical symptoms, such as delirium, smell and taste dysfunction, or cardiovascular features. Based on inpatient electronic health record data between March 1 and April 20 of 2020, this cohort study examined the frequency of atypical presentation of COVID-19 among older adults. Analyses suggest that atypical presentation was often characterized by functional decline or altered mental status.
Driessen RGH, Latten BGH, Bergmans DCJJ, et al. Virchows Arch. 2020;478(6):1173-1178.
Autopsies are an important tool for detecting misdiagnoses. Autopsies were performed on 32 septic individuals who died within 48 hours of admission to the intensive care unit. Of those, four patients were found to have class I missed major diagnosis. These results underscore the need to perform autopsies to improve diagnosis.
Diabes MA, Ervin JN, Davis BS, et al. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2021;18(6):1027-1033.
A key feature of safety culture is the psychological safety of all staff to feel empowered to speak up about errors or mistakes. In this study of intensive care unit clinicians, job strain, leader inclusiveness and perception of teamwork were associated with psychological safety. However, psychological safety was not associated with performance of either spontaneous breathing trials or lung-protective ventilation. Future research should focus on strategies to improve psychological safety in intensive care units.
Melnyk BM, Tan A, Hsieh AP, et al. Am J Crit Care. 2021;30.
This survey of 771 critical care nurses found that 40% had at least one symptom of depression and nearly half experienced some degree of anxiety. Nurses with poor physical or mental health reported making more medical errors than their healthier counterparts and nurses in supportive workplaces were more likely to have better physical and mental health. The authors suggest that improvements in an organization’s health and wellness support programs could result in fewer reported medical errors. Notably, this study was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to an even further decline in nurse wellness. 
Fischer CP, Bilimoria KY, Ghaferi AA. JAMA. 2021;326(2):179-180.
Rapid response teams (RRTs) are intended to quickly identify clinical deterioration and prevent intensive care unit transfer, cardiac arrest, or death. This article summarizes the evidence included in the AHRQ Making Healthcare Safer III report about the use of RRTs to decrease failure to rescue. Although utilization is widespread, the authors conclude that definitive evidence that RRTs are associated with reduced rates of failure to rescue is inconclusive. The authors note that evidence does support that RRTs are associated with reduced secondary outcomes, such as ICU transfer rate and cardiac arrest.
Evans S, Green A, Roberson A, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:151-156.
A lack of situational awareness can lead to delayed recognition of patient deterioration. This children’s hospital developed and implemented a situational awareness framework designed to decrease emergency transfers to the intensive care unit (ICU). The framework included both objective and subjective criteria. By identifying patients at increased risk of clinical deterioration (“watcher status”) and use of the framework, recognition of deterioration occurred sooner and resulted in fewer emergency transfers to the ICU.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. June 3, 2021; 26(11): 1-5.

Concentrated potassium chloride is a high-alert medication for which dosing errors are particularly injurious. This article shares the root causes of IV-push missteps with this medication during a code. Recommendations for improvement shared center on team characteristics and communication.
Abraham J, Meng A, Sona C, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2021;151:104458.
Standardized handoff protocols from the operating room to the intensive care unit have improved patient safety, but clinician compliance and long-term sustainability remain poor. This study identified four phases of post-operative handoff associated with risk factors: pre-transfer preparation, transfer and set up, report preparation and delivery, and post-transfer care. The authors recommend “flexibly standardized” handoff intervention tools for safe transfer from operating room to intensive care.
DeGrave AJ, Janizek JD, Lee S-I. Nature Machine Intel. 2021;Epub May 31.
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems can support diagnostic decision-making. This study evaluates diagnostic “shortcuts” learned by AI systems in detecting COVID-19 in chest radiographs. Results reveal a need for better training data, improved choice in the prediction task, and external validation of the AI system prior to dissemination and implementations in different hospitals.  
Geva A, Albert BD, Hamilton S, et al. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2021;Epub May 4.
Checklists are used in many clinical settings to improve patient safety. This pediatric intensive care unit updated a static checklist, eSIMPLE, to a dynamic, decision-support enhanced checklist, eSIMPLER. The eSIMPLER checklist took less time to complete, had higher user satisfaction, and improved adherence to best-practices.
Krancevich NM, Belfer JJ, Draper HM, et al. Ann Pharmacother. 2021;Epub May 18.
Prescribing opioids to opioid-naïve patients after hospital discharge may lead to chronic use. This study evaluated long-term opioid use among patients admitted directly to the ICU and who received intravenous opioids. While long-term opioid use was more common among patients who received an opioid prescription at discharge, the authors did not find a significant relationship between ICU opioid prescribing in opioid-naïve patients and long-term opioid use. The authors suggest future research focus on transitions from hospital to home or other post-acute sites to reduce inappropriate opioid use.
Della Torre V, E. Nacul F, Rosseel P, et al. Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther. 2021;Epub May 20.
Human factors (HF) is the interaction between workers, equipment, and the environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of HF in intensive care units across the globe. This paper expands on the core concepts of HF and proposes the additional key concepts of agility, serendipity, innovation, and learning. Adoption of these HF concepts by leadership and staff can improve patient safety in intensive care units in future pandemics and other crisis situations.
Petrone G, Brown L, Binder W, et al. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2021;Epub Mar 26.
As COVID-19 infections surged worldwide, many states set up alternative care hospitals (ACH), or field hospitals. Prior to opening a Rhode Island ACH, four multi-disciplinary in situ simulation scenarios were run to perform system testing. This in situ simulation was successful in identifying patient safety concerns, resulting in equipment modification and protocol changes.
Polancich S, Hall AG, Miltner RS, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2021;43(3):137-144.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of health care delivery, including how hospitals prevent common hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure injuries. Based on retrospective data, the authors of this study did not identify a longitudinal increase in hospital-acquired pressure injuries between March and July 2020. The authors discuss how prior organizational efforts to reduce hospital-acquired pressure injuries allowed their hospital to quickly adapt existing workflows and processes to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.