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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.

Thomas K, Gebeloff R, Silver-Greenberg J. New York Times. September 11, 2021.

Nursing home medication misuse is a contributor to resident harm. This story highlights system influences such as staffing shortages, reporting failures and normalization of prescribing behaviors that coincide with the misuse of antipsychotic medications and overdiagnosis of schizophrenia.
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.
King CR, Abraham J, Fritz BA, et al. PLoS ONE. 2021;16(7):e0254358.
Analysis of canceled medication orders has been used to estimate medication ordering errors. Using the same dataset analyzed in their 2017 study, the authors update the analysis using machine learning to predict medication ordering errors and associated factors. Results indicate machine learning may be useful in understanding risk factors involved with medication ordering errors.
Agnoli A, Xing G, Tancredi DJ, et al. JAMA. 2021;326(5):411-419.
Sudden discontinuation of opioids has been linked to increased patient harm. This observational study evaluated the link between tapering and overdose, and mental health crisis among patients who were receiving long-term opioid therapy. Patients who underwent dose tapering had an increased risk of overdose and mental health crisis compared to those who did not undergo dose tapering. 
Hoyle JD, Ekblad G, Woodwyk A, et al. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2021:1-8.
Inaccurate assessment of pediatric patient weight can lead to medication dosing errors. In simulated pediatric scenarios, pre-hospital emergency medical services (EMS) crews obtained patient weight using one or more of three methods: asking parent, using patient age, and Broselow-Luten Tape (BLT). BLT was the most frequent method used and patient age resulted in the most frequent dosing errors. Systems-based solutions are presented.
Paradissis C, Cottrell N, Coombes ID, et al. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2021;12:204209862110274.
Adverse drug events are a common source of harm in both inpatient and ambulatory patients. This narrative review of 75 studies concluded that cardiovascular medications are a leading cause of medication harm across different clinical settings, and that older adults are at increased risk. Medications to treat high blood pressure and arrhythmias were the most common cause of medication harm.
Wei W, Coffey W, Adeola M, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;Epub Jul 15.
Smart pumps can improve medication safety, but barriers such as workarounds and alert fatigue can limit their effectiveness. After implementing smart pumps with an electronic health record (EHR) system, this community hospital saw increased drug library compliance and fewer infusions generating alerts.
Blum MR, Sallevelt B, Spinewine A, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1585.
Older adults with multimorbidity and polypharmacy are at increased risk of adverse drug events. This cluster randomized controlled trial compared drug-related hospitalization rates of older adults who received a structured deprescribing intervention and those who received usual care. While rates of polypharmacy decreased, there was no effect on drug-related hospitalizations.
Alshehri GH, Ashcroft DM, Nguyen J, et al. Drug Saf. 2021;44(8):877-888.
Adverse drug events (ADE) can occur in any healthcare setting. Using retrospective record review from three mental health hospitals, clinical pharmacists confirmed that ADEs were common, and that nearly one-fifth of those were considered preventable.
Galanter W, Eguale T, Gellad WF, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(7):e2117038.
One element of conservative prescribing is minimizing the number of medications prescribed. This study compared the number of unique, newly prescribed medications (personal formularies) of primary care physicians across four health systems. Results indicated wide variability in the number of unique medications at the physician and institution levels. Further exploration of personal formularies and core drugs may illuminate opportunities for safer and more appropriate prescribing.
Jaam M, Naseralallah LM, Hussain TA, et al. PLOS ONE. 2021;16(6):e0253588.
Including pharmacists can improve patient safety across the medication prescribing continuum. This review identified twelve pharmacist-led educational interventions aimed at improving medication safety. The phase, educational strategy, patient population, and audience varied across studies; however most showed some reductions in medication errors.
Adie K, Fois RA, McLachlan AJ, et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021;Epub May 23.
Medication errors are a common cause of patient harm. This study analyzed medication incident (MI) reports from thirty community pharmacies in Australia. Most errors occurred during the prescribing stage and were the result of interrelated causes such as poor communication and not following procedures/guidelines. Further research into these causes could reduce medication errors in the community.
Kern-Goldberger AR, Kneifati-Hayek J, Fernandes Y, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2021;138(2):229-235.
Patient misidentification errors can result in serious patient harm. The authors reviewed over 1.3 million electronic orders for inpatients at one New York hospital between 2016 and 2018 and found that wrong-patient order errors occurred more frequently on obstetric units than medical-surgical units. Medication errors were the largest source of order errors and commonly involved antibiotics and opioid and non-opioid analgesics.
Khan NF, Booth HP, Myles P, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21.
This study assessed how and when quality improvement (QI) feedback reports on prescribing safety are used in one general practice in the UK. Four themes were identified: receiving the report, facilitators and barriers to acting upon the report, acting upon the report, and how the report contributes to a quality culture. Facilitators included effective dissemination of reports while barriers included lack of time to act upon the reports. As most practitioners indicated the QI reports were useful, efforts should be made to address barriers to acting upon the reports.

Koeck JA, Young NJ, Kontny U, et al. Paediatr Drugs. Epub 2021 May 8. 

Pediatric patients are at risk for medication prescribing errors due to weight-based dosing. This review analyzed 70 interventions aimed at reducing weight-based prescribing errors. Findings indicate that bundled interventions are most effective, and that interventions should include substitute or engineering controls (e.g., computerized provider order entry) along with administrative controls (e.g., expert consultation).
Holmqvist M, Thor J, Ros A, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21(1):557.
Polypharmacy in older adults puts them at risk for adverse drug events. In interviews with primary care clinicians, researchers found that working conditions and working in partnership with colleagues, patients, and family influenced medication evaluation. They also identified two main areas of action: working with a plan and collaborative problem-solving. 

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Polypharmacy is a known challenge to patient safety. This collective program encourages long-term care organizations, physicians, and pharmacists to take part in a learning network to share aggregated data, lessons learned, and educational opportunities to reduce medication adverse events through safe deprescribing. 
Farhat A, Al‐Hajje A, Csajka C, et al. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2021;Epub Mar 26.
Several tools have been developed to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing. This study explored the economic and clinical impacts of two tools, STOPP/START and FORTA (Fit fOR The Aged list). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using those tools demonstrated significant clinical and economic impact in geriatric and internal medicine. Due to the low number of RCT studies evaluating these tools, additional studies are warranted.