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Townsend T, Cerdá M, Bohnert AS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40:1766-1775.
Misuse of prescription opioids represents a serious patient safety issue. Using commercial claims from 2014 - 2018, researchers examined the association between the 2016 CDC guidelines to reduce unsafe opioid prescribing and opioid dispensing for patients with four common chronic pain diagnoses. Findings indicate that the release of the 2016 guidelines was associated with reductions in the percentage of patients receiving opioids, average dose prescribed, percentage receiving high-dose prescriptions, number of days supplied, and the percentage of patients receiving concurrent opioid/benzodiazepine prescriptions. The authors observe that questions remain about how clinicians are tailoring opioid reductions using a patient-centered approach.

Bajaj K, de Roche A, Goffman D. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 20(21)-0040-6-EF.

Maternal safety is threatened by systemic biases, care complexities, and diagnostic issues. This issue brief explores the role of diagnostic error in maternal morbidity and mortality, the preventability of common problems such as maternal hemorrhage, and the importance of multidisciplinary efforts to realize improvement. The brief focuses on events occurring during childbirth and up to a week postpartum.
Turner K, Staggs V, Potter C, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:1000-1007.
Fall prevention remains a patient safety priority. This article describes how fall prevention strategies are being implemented and operationalized across 60 hospitals in the United States. While many hospitals employed recommended strategies identified, implementation was suboptimal at times – for example, interdisciplinary fall committees were common but rarely included physicians.
Donovan AL, Aaronson EL, Black L, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:23-30.
Patient suicide, attempted suicide, or self-harm are considered ‘never events.’ This article describes the development and implementation of a safety protocol for emergency department (ED) patients at risk for self-harm, including the creation of safe bathrooms and increasing the number of trained observers in the ED. Implementation of the protocol was correlated with lower rates of self-harm.  
Mangrum R, Stewart MD, Gifford DR, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020;21:1587-1591.e2.
Building upon earlier work, the authors engaged a technical expert panel to reach consensus on a definition for omissions of care in nursing homes. The article details the terms and concepts included in (and excluded from) the proposed definition, provides examples of omissions of care, intended uses (e.g., to guide quality improvement activities or training and education), and describes the implications of the definition for clinical practice, policy, and research.  
Brown KW, Carlisle K, Raman SR, et al. Health Aff (Milwood). 2020;39:1737-1742.
Over the last decade, children have experienced a dramatic rise in hospitalizations and intensive care unit stays related to opioid use. Based on Medicaid claims in North Carolina, prescribers of opioids for children were most commonly physicians and dentists. More than 3% of children ages 1 to 17 years had at least one opioid prescription filled annually; 76.6 children per 100,000 experienced an opioid-related adverse event or other harm. Adolescents ages 15 to 17 years disproportionately experienced these harms compared to younger age groups. Black and urban children were less likely to fill opioid prescriptions or experience adverse events, but they were more likely to experience other opioid-related harm, such as abuse or dependence.   

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. September 10, 2020;25(18)

This alert discusses medication errors that have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration involving the preparation, administration, and storage of two formulations of the investigational COVID-19 treatment remdesivir. Recommendations to guide safe practice include use of standard order sets and dosing clarifications.
Maurer NR, Hogan TH, Walker DM. Med Care Res Rev. 2021;78:643-659.
This systematic review examined effectiveness of hospital- or system-wide interventions in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The review identified several strategies for reducing HAIs, including enhanced environmental cleaning using disinfection technologies; EHR implementation; multimodal infection control programs; multichannel hand hygiene promotion; and hospital-wide cultural transformations. The review identifies approaches meriting additional research and exploration.
Roope LSJ, Buchanan J, Morrell L, et al. BMC Med. 2020;18:196.
This study used hypothetical scenarios to explore factors influencing prescribers’ decision-making on whether to discontinue antibiotics at early review. Prescribers (from acute/general hospitals) were more likely to continue antibiotics when discontinuation would conflict with local guidelines, when systems clearly indicated antibiotics, and when patients had severe frailty or comorbidities.
Chung L, Kumar S, Oldfield J, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e115-e123.
This systematic review investigated the use of anatomical side markers (ASM), which are used in radiology to identify the correct anatomical side and prevent confusion. The seven studies included demonstrated that use of ASMs is common, but the literature documented some barriers to use, such as risk of obscuring essential anatomical parts.
Duhn L, Godfrey C, Medves J. Health Expect. 2020;23:979-991.
This scoping review characterized the evidence base on patients’ attitudes and behaviors concerning their engagement in ensuring the safety of their care. The review found increasing interest in patient and family engagement in safety and identified several research gaps, such as a need to better understand patients’ attitudes across the continuum of care, the role of family members, and engagement in primary care safety practices.
Wood LJ, Wiegmann DA. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;32:438-444.
This article discusses the action hierarchy, which is a tool for generating corrective actions to improve safety and focuses on those recommendations relying less on human factors and more on systems change. The authors propose a multifaceted definition of ‘systems change’ and a rubric for determining the extent to which a corrective action addresses ‘systems change’ (‘systems change hierarchy’).

Durning S, Holmboe E, Graber ML, eds. Diagnosis(Berl). 2020;7(3):151-344.

Challenges to effective clinical reasoning reduce diagnostic accuracy. This special issue provides background for a new approach to clinical reasoning: situativity. The articles explore the four complementary facets of the concept -- situated cognition; distributed cognition; embodied cognition; and ecological psychology – and describes how situativity can enhance diagnosis through a holistic approach to education, assessment, and research.    
Singh H, Sittig DF. Ann Intern Med. 2020;172:S92-S100.
This article describes the Safety-related EHR Research (SAFER) Reporting Framework, which facilitates reporting patient safety-focused EHR interventions through a sociotechnical lens. It discusses the benefits of a sociotechnical approach to reporting and components to operationalizing the SAFER framework, including necessary hardware and software, clinical content, a human-computer interface, workflow and communication, rules and regulations, and measurement and monitoring. SAFER is not intended to replace current research reporting guidelines, but complement their use.
Härkänen M, Turunen H, Vehviläinen-Julkunen K. J Patient Saf. 2020;16.
This study compared medication errors detected using incident reports, the Global Trigger Tool method, and direct observations of patient records. Incident reports and the Global Trigger Tool more commonly identified medication errors likely to cause harm. Omission errors were commonly identified by all three methods, but identification of other errors varied. For example, incident reports most commonly identified wrong dose and wrong time errors. The contributing factors also varied by method, but in general, communication issues and human factors were the most common contributors.

Auerbach AD, Bates DW, Rao JK, et al, eds. Ann Intern Med. 2020;172(11_Supp):S69-S144.

Research and error reporting are important strategies to uncover problems in health system performance. This special issue highlights vendor transparency and context as important areas of focus to ensure electronic health records (EHR) research and reporting help improve system reliability. The articles cover topics such as a framework for research reporting, design of randomized controlled trials for technology studies, and designing research on patient portal enhancement.
Jacobs S, Hann M, Bradley F, et al. Res Soc Admin Pharm. 2020;16:895-903.
This study evaluated cross-sectional survey data from pharmacists and patients to characterize organizational factors associated with variation in safety climate, patient satisfaction and self-reported medication adherence in community pharmacies in the United Kingdom. Safety climate was associated with pharmacy ownership, organizational culture, working hours, and employment of accuracy checkers. Skill mix and continuity of care also influenced safety culture and quality.
Weingart SN, Yaghi O, Barnhart L, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2020;11.
To decrease the risk of diagnostic errors attributed to incomplete recommended diagnostic tests, this study evaluated an electronic monitoring tool alerting clinicians to incomplete imaging tests for their ambulatory patients. Compared to the control group (physicians not receiving alerts for their patients), after 90-days the intervention group had a higher rate of imaging completion (22.1% vs. 18.8%); this difference was sustained throughout the 12-month follow-up period (25.5% completion in the intervention group versus 20.9% in the control group). The authors found that this change was primarily driven by completion rates among patients referred for mammography.  To fully appreciate the implications of missed test notifications to reduce the risk of delayed diagnoses, more studies are necessary.
Anderson JE, Ross AJ, Back J, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020.
Using ethnographic methods and resilient healthcare principles (described as systems that anticipate future demands, respond to current demands, monitor for emergent problems and learn from results, both positive and negative), the researchers interviewed and observed staff in emergency departments (EDs) and geriatric wards in one teaching hospital in London to identify system vulnerabilities to target with quality improvement interventions. The observations and interviews revealed difficulties with discharge planning and information integration as priority areas.

Famolaro T, Hare R, Thornton S, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; January 2020. AHRQ Publication No. 20-0016.

The latest publication from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports results of 282 ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) participating in the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture (SOPS) Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey. The majority of respondents (86%) rated their organization’s overall safety rating as excellent or very good.