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McGaughey J, Fergusson DA, Van Bogaert P, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;11:CD005529.
Rapid response systems (RRS) and early warning systems (EWS) are designed to detect patient deterioration and prevent cardiac arrest, transfer to the intensive care unit, or death. This review updates the authors’ review published in 2007. Eleven studies representing patients in 282 hospitals were reviewed to determine the effect of RRS or EWS on patient outcomes.
Schefft M, Noda A, Godbout E. Curr Treat Options Pediatr. 2021;7:138-151.
Overuse of medical care represents a significant patient safety challenge. This review discusses the impacts of healthcare overuse and unnecessary care on patient safety, including contributions to avoidable adverse events, increasing risks for healthcare-acquired infections, and adverse psychological outcomes.
Stahl K, Groene O. PLoS ONE. 2021;16:e0259252.
Patient safety in ambulatory care is an emerging focus of measurement and improvement efforts. This cross-sectional study including patients from 22 ambulatory care practices in Germany found that nearly 3% of respondents had experienced a patient safety event during the last 12 months. The authors discuss how different approaches to voluntary reporting can influence measurement of patient experience.

Uttaro E, Zhao F, Schweighardt A. Int J Pharm Compd. 2021;25(5):364-371. 

Medication administration, particularly when it involves drug formulation manipulation, is a complex process. This study analyzed the products included on the Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ (ISMP) ‘Do Not Crush List’ and found that many presented no risk or low risk for crushing. The authors provide recommendations for clinicians to aid in clinical decision-making regarding crushing, such as suitable personal protective equipment and prompt administration.
Weber L, Schulze I, Jaehde U. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;Epub Nov 18.
Chemotherapy administration errors can result in serious patient harm. Using failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), researchers identified potential failures related to the medication process for intravenous chemotherapy. Common failures included incorrect patient information, non-standardized chemotherapy protocols, and problems related to supportive therapy.
Yansane A, Tokede O, Walji MF, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e1050-e1056.
Clinician burnout is a known threat to patient safety. This survey of a national sample of dentists found that approximately 1 in 10 respondents reported high levels of burnout and 50% of respondents reported a perceived dental error in the last 6 months. Efforts to minimize burnout among dentists may help improve patient safety.

Glicksman E. Washington Post. December 11, 2021.

A successful patient/physician relationship enables care that is specific for the individual, their unique concerns, and distinct lifestyles. This article discusses patient choice in physicians as a strategy to reduce the impact of implicit ethnic bias, while arguing that fundamental change will occur only by reducing racism through system change.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; November 2021. AHRQ Pub. No. 22-0005.

This analysis of reports submitted by Patient Safety Organizations during the early months of the COVID pandemic found that patients testing positive for COVID-19 or being investigated for carrying the virus was the most frequently reported patient safety concern (26.6%). In addition, patients and staff being exposed to individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19 was identified as a patient safety issue in 18.2% of the records analyzed.

Patient Safety Movement Foundation. January 25, 2022.

Successful patient safety improvements engage individuals across the continuum of care and administrative processes, including patients as advocates for change. This webinar highlighted the role of the patient in influencing legislation designed to affect systems of care to ensure safe practice.
Bryant BE, Jordan A, Clark US. JAMA Psych. 2022;79:93-94.
Research and medical practice are negatively affected by systemic and implicit bias. This commentary discusses this phenomenon in the mental health sector and suggests a role for researchers to reduce the inappropriate use of race in psychiatric practice while limiting its detrimental impact on care nationwide.

Gebeloff R, Thomas K, Silver-Greenberg J. New York TimesDecember 9, 2021.

Nursing homes harbor numerous challenges to patient safety and they should be transparently reported and acted upon to ensure improvement. This news investigation discusses a gap in the reporting and inspection of nursing home incidents that undermines the ability of the US nursing home rating system to inform consumer long term care facility choice.
Anand TV, Wallace BK, Chase HS. BMC Geriatr. 2021;21:648.
Older adults, particularly those taking more than one medication, are at increased risk of adverse drug events (ADE). In this study of 6,545 older adult patients who were prescribed at least 3 medications, multidrug interactions (MDI) were identified in 1.3% of medication lists. Psychotropic medications were the most commonly involved medication class; the most common serious ADE were serotonin syndrome, seizures, prolonged QT interval, and bleeding.
London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
The National Health Service broadly reports the results of system-level analyses and investigations into trust-specific failures. This publication series provides information about complaints submitted to trusts to track complaints received and responded to, identify common themes, and uncover recurring problems in an effort to enable organizations to improve processes for managing complaints.
Shen L, Levie A, Singh H, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:71-80.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges associated with diagnostic error. This study used natural language processing to identify and categorize diagnostic errors occurring during the pandemic. The study compared a review of all patient safety reports explicitly mentioning COVID-19, and using natural language processing, identified additional safety reports involving COVID-19 diagnostic errors and delays. This innovative approach may be useful for organizations wanting to identify emerging risks, including safety concerns related to COVID-19.
Centola D, Guilbeault D, Sarkar U, et al. Nature Commun. 2021;12:6585.
Race and gender bias in healthcare remains a public health problem. Study participants were assigned to a control (i.e., independent reflection) or intervention (i.e., “egalitarian” information exchange network) group and asked to provide diagnostic and treatment recommendations for standardized patients (a white man or a black woman). Participants in the intervention group were more likely to recommend appropriate care and showed no bias in final recommendations. The authors note that these findings indicate that clinician network interventions might be useful in healthcare settings to reduce disparities in patient treatment.
Ciapponi A, Fernandez Nievas SE, Seijo M, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021;11:CD009985.
Medication errors can lead to harm in hospitalized patients including increased length of stay, lower quality of life, increased morbidity, and even death. This review of 65 studies and 110,875 patients examined interventions (primarily medication reconciliation) and their effect on reducing adverse drug events. Findings revealed mostly low to moderate certainty about the effectiveness of medication reconciliation and low certainty on other interventions, emphasizing the importance of research that has greater power and is methodologically sound.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; December 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 22-0009.

In consultation with AHRQ, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered a final report on effective strategies to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors to Congress. Required by the Patient Safety Act of 2005, the report was made available for public review and comment, and review by the National Academy of Medicine. It outlined several strategies to accelerate progress in improving patient safety, including using analytic approaches in patient safety research, measurement, and practice improvement to monitor risk; implementing evidence-based practices in real-world settings through clinically useful tools and infrastructure; encouraging the development of learning health systems that integrate continuous learning and improvement in day-to-day operations; and encouraging the use of patient safety strategies outlined in the National Action Plan by the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety.
Jomaa C, Dubois C‐A, Caron I, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;Epub Nov 30.
Nurses play a critical role in ensuring patient safety. This study explored the association between the organization of nursing services and patient safety incidents in rehabilitation units. Findings highlight the key role of appropriate nurse staffing in reducing the incidence of events such as falls and medication errors
Kotwal S, Fanai M, Fu W, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:489-496.
Previous studies have used virtual patient cases to help trainees and practicing physicians improve diagnostic accuracy. Using virtual patients, this study found that brief lectures combined with 9 hours of supervised deliberate practice improved the ability of medical interns to correctly diagnose dizziness.
Liu C, McKenzie A, Sutkin G. J Surg Edu. 2021;78:1938-1947.
Communication failures are a common cause of patient harm. This qualitative study found that potentially ambiguous language is common in surgical training settings. In addition to creating challenges for trainee comprehension of surgical instruction, ambiguous language can lead to miscommunications and near misses.