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Gregory H, Cantley M, Calhoun C, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2021;46:266-270.
Medication safety continues to be a challenge in most healthcare settings, including emergency departments. In this academic emergency department, an overall error rate of 16.5% was observed, including errors in directions, quantity prescribed, and prescriptions written with refills. Involving a pharmacist at discharge may increase patient safety.
Liukka M, Hupli M, Turunen H. Leadersh Health Serv (Bradf Engl). 2021;Epub Sep 8.
The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture and Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture were used in one Finish healthcare organization to assess 1) differences in employee perceptions of safety culture in their respective settings, and 2) differences between professionals’ and managers’ views. Managers assessed safety culture higher than professionals in both settings. Acute care patient safety scores were significantly positive in 8 out of twelve domains, compared to only one in long-term care.
Weiner-Lastinger LM, Pattabiraman V, Konnor RY, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2021;Epub Sept 13.
Using data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network, this study identified significant increases in the incidence of healthcare-associated infections from 2019 to 2020. The authors conclude that these findings suggest a need to return to conventional infection control and prevention practices and prepare for future pandemics.

Mirtallo JM, Ayers P. Pharmacy Practice News. September 7, 2021;48(9):17-20.

Parenteral nutrition (PN) processes contain various steps that are prone to errors resulting in patient harm. This article discusses standardization as a strategy to reduce the potential for missteps and shares resources for process evaluation to improve PN reliability and safety.
Warm EJ, Ahmad Y, Kinnear B, et al. Acad Med. 2021;96(9):1268-1275.
Technical and procedural skills are an important emphasis of medical training. This article briefly summarizes the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) approach, which was developed for the nuclear industry and has been used in radiology. The authors outline how ALARA risk standards can be adapted by training program directors to measure procedural competency and assess and reduce bedside procedural risks.
Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478(6):1179-1185.
Autopsies are an important tool for identifying diagnostic errors. This retrospective study of 821 pediatric cancer deaths found that 10% had a major diagnostic discrepancy between antemortem and postmortem diagnoses. These discrepancies primarily consisted of missed infections, missed cancer diagnoses, and organ complications.
Combs CA, Einerson BD, Toner LE. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021;Epub Jul 30.
Maternal and newborn safety is challenged during cesarean delivery due to the complexities of the practice. This guideline recommends specific checklist elements to direct coordination and communication between the two teams engaged in cesarean deliveries. The guideline provides a sample checklist and steps for its implementation.
Boquet A, Cohen T, Diljohn F, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(6):e534-e539.
This study classified flow disruptions affecting the anesthesia team during cardiothoracic surgeries. Disruptions were classified into one of six human factors categories: communication, coordination, equipment issues, interruptions, layout, and usability. Interruptions accounted for nearly 40% of disruptions (e.g., events related to alerts, distractions, searching activity, spilling/dropping, teaching moment).
Shervani S, Madden W, Gleason LJ. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;Epub Aug 31.
Prior research has found that electronic health record systems (EHRs) cannot effectively communicate medication discontinuation instructions to pharmacies. This “teachable moment” commentary highlights this issue with EHR and pharmacy system interoperability which resulted in the inadvertent dispensing of a discontinued medication. A related commentary discusses the challenges associated with attempting to discontinue prescriptions and how the CancelRx system can help mitigate these challenges.
Wang X, Wilson C, Holmes K. J Gerontol Soc Work. 2021:1-17.
Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age and communal living conditions. Using publicly available data for nursing homes in Florida, this study explored the association between nursing home characteristics and COVID-19 cases and deaths. Findings suggest that the likelihood of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes is related to ownership status, facility size and average occupancy rate, rather than quality (as measured by infection prevention and control deficiencies).
Burrus S, Hall M, Tooley E, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148(3):e2020030346.
Based on analysis of four years of data submitted to the Child Health Patient Safety Organization (CHILDPSO), researchers sought to identify types of serious safety events and contributing factors. Three main groups of serious safety events were identified: patient care management, procedural errors, and product or device errors. Contributing factors included lack of situational awareness, process failures, and failure to communicate effectively.
Mirarchi FL, Cammarata C, Cooney TE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(6):458-466.
Prior research found significant confusion among physicians in understanding Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) documents, which can lead to errors. This study found that emergency medical services (EMS) personnel did not exhibit adequate understanding of all POLST or living will documents either. The researchers propose that patient video messaging can increase clarity about treatment, and preserve patient safety and autonomy.
Khawagi WY, Steinke DT, Carr MJ, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;Epub Aug 27.
Patient safety indicators (PSIs) can be used to identify potential patient safety hazards. Researchers used the Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD database to examine prevalence, variation, and patient- and practice-level risk factors for 22 mental health-related PSIs for medication prescribing and monitoring in primary care. The authors found that potentially inappropriate prescribing and inadequate medication monitoring commonly affected patients with mental illness in primary care.
van der Zanden M, de Kok L, Nelen WLDM, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8(3):333-339.
Endometriosis is a common clinical condition that is often subject to missed or delayed diagnosis. This qualitative study explored patients’ perspectives on the diagnostic process of endometriosis. Findings suggest that the diagnosis of endometriosis is hindered by delayed consultation, inadequate understanding and appraisal of symptoms by general practitioners, and inadequate communication between patients and providers.
Newman B, Joseph K, Chauhan A, et al. Health Expect. 2021;Epub Aug 26.
Patients and families are essential partners in identifying and preventing safety events. This systematic review characterizes patient engagement along a continuum of engagement that includes consultation (e.g., patients are invited to provide input about a specific safety issue), involvement (e.g., patients are asked about their preferences/concerns and given the opportunity to engage with practitioners about a specific issue), and partnership/leadership (e.g., patients ‘work’ with practitioners to improve the safety of their care, often using tools designed to empower patients to alert practitioners to concerns).
Fenton SH, Giannangelo KL, Stanfill MH. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;Epub Sep 3.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision (ICD-11) in 2018. In addition to the medical entities such as disease and injury, it contains a second component, the ICD-11 Mortality and Morbidity Statistics (MMS) linearization. The authors evaluated whether the ICD-11 MMS is appropriate for use in patient safety and quality or if a USA-specific clinical modification is necessary. 
Preston-Suni K, Celedon MA, Cordasco’s KM. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47(10):673-676.
Presenteeism among healthcare workers – continuing to work while sick – has been attributed to various cultural and system factors, such as fear of failing colleagues or patients. This commentary discusses the patient safety and ethical considerations of presenteeism during the COVID-19 pandemic
Korenstein D, Harris RP, Elshaug AG, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;36(7):2105-2110.
Provider and patient underestimation of harms of tests and treatments may lead to over treatment. This article presents seven domains of harm of tests and treatment which warrant comprehensive research: (1) physical impairment, (2) psychological distress, (3) social disruption, (4) disruption in connection to healthcare, (5) labeling, (6) financial impact, and (7) treatment burden. Research is especially important in vulnerable patient populations.
O’Connor P, Madden C, O’Dowd E, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33(3):mzab117.
There are many challenges associated with detecting and measuring patient safety events. This meta-review provides an overview of approaches to measuring and monitoring safety in primary care. The authors suggest that instead of developing new methods for measuring and monitoring safety, researchers should focus on expanding the generalizability and comparability of existing methods, many of which are readily available, quick to administer, do not require external involvement, and are inexpensive.

Washington, DC: Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General; August 26, 2021. Report No. 21-01502-240.

Organizational assessments often provide insights that address overarching quality and safety challenges. This extensive inspection report shares findings from inspections of 36 Veterans Health Administration care facilities. Recommendations drawn from the analysis call for improvements in suicide death review, root cause analysis result application, and safety committee action item implementation.