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Townsend T, Cerdá M, Bohnert AS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(11):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.
Upadhyay S, Stephenson AL, Weech-Maldonado R, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Sep 28.
This longitudinal study concluded that culturally competent hospitals have better patient safety culture than other hospitals. Based on survey data, results indicate that hospitals with higher levels of engagement in diversity programs had higher perceptions of management support for safety, teamwork across units, and nonpunitive responses.

Jewett C. Kaiser Health News. November 4, 2021.

Nosocomial infection is a primary concern due to the COVID pandemic. This news story examines instances when inpatients contracted, and sometimes died of, COVID-19 while receiving care for a different condition. It summarizes the challenges associated with collecting adequate data that completely document nosocomial spread of COVID-19 and its impact on patient outcomes.
Rosenkrantz AB, Siegal D, Skillings JA, et al. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021;18(9):1310-1316.
Prior research found that cancer, infections, and vascular events (the “big three”) account for nearly half of all serious misdiagnosis-related harm identified in malpractice claims. This retrospective analysis of malpractice claims data from 2008 to 2017 found that oncology-related errors represented the largest source of radiology malpractice cases with diagnostic allegations. Imaging misinterpretation was the primary contributing factor.

US House of Representatives Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health.  117th Cong. 1st Sess (2021).

The Veterans Health Administration is a large complex system that faces various challenges to safe care provision. At this hearing, government administrators testified on current gaps that detract from safe care in the Veteran’s health system. The experts discussed several high-profile misconduct and systemic failure incidents, suggested that the culture and leadership within the system overall enables latency of issues, and outlined actions being taken to address weaknesses.

Manchester, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; October 2021.

This report examines a premature infant death associated with failings of antibiotic administration, deterioration recognition and action on family concerns both during treatment and post-incident. The report issues a series of recommendations building on standard remediation guidance in the United Kingdom.

The Daisy Foundation and Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Nurses have a fundamental role in safe care delivery by fostering a healthy work environment. This award recognizes nurses that exhibit compassion, patient and family centeredness, and a commitment to workplace safety. The award will be presented at annual IHI Patient Safety Congress. Award nominations are due December 3, 2021.
Hussein M, Pavlova M, Ghalwash M, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21(1):1057.
Accreditation programs, such as Magnet Hospital Program and The Joint Commission, are intended to improve hospital patient safety and quality. This review of 76 studies suggests accreditation has a positive impact on safety culture, efficiency and length of stay. Effects on mortality and healthcare-associated infection rates were mixed.
Moureaud C, Hertig JB, Dong Y, et al. Health Policy (New York). 2021;125(11):1421-1429.
Based on survey responses from 1,002 participants, this study evaluated how social media users assess, interact and engage with information related to the illegal sales of prescription medicines. Findings suggest that individuals generally perceive online pharmacies and social media platforms to be safe and respondents are confident in their ability to acquire legitimate medicines. The authors note that this false confidence has the potential to lead to patient harm given the prevalence of counterfeit and substandard medication available on these platforms.
Trost SL, Beauregard JL, Smoots AN, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(10):1551-1559.
Missed diagnosis of mental health conditions can lead to serious adverse outcomes. Researchers evaluated data from 2008 to 2017 from 14 state Maternal Mortality Review Committees and found that 11% of pregnancy-related deaths were due to mental health conditions. A substantial proportion of people with a pregnancy-related mental health cause of death had a history of depression or past/current substance use. Researchers conclude that addressing gaps maternal mental health care is essential to improving maternal safety.
Schaffer AC, Babayan A, Einbinder JS, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2021;138(2):246-252.
Adverse events in obstetrics threaten the safety of both maternal and infant patients. This study identified a significant reduction in malpractice claims among obstetrician-gynecologists after participation in simulation training focused on team training and crisis management.

Zirger JM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fed Register. September 27, 2021;86:53309-53312.

Tracking healthcare-associated infection (HAI) data aids in national, regional, and organizational design of HAI improvement efforts. This notice calls for public comment on the continuation of the National Healthcare Safety Network HAI information collection process. The comment period closes November 26, 2021.
Holmgren AJ, Bates DW. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2125173.
Hospitals participating in the voluntary Leapfrog program must publicly report data on several quality measures. Hospitals that participated in the Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) Evaluation Tool, which measures medication safety, had a mean score of 59.3% at baseline. Hospitals that received negative feedback showed greater improvement than hospitals that received positive feedback, demonstrating the utility of public reporting in improving quality.
Bouwman R, Bomhoff M, Robben PB, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(7):473-482.
When appropriately responded to and addressed, patient complaints may help prevent adverse events. In this study of patient complaints filed with the Dutch Healthcare Inspectorate, researchers investigated how patients expected their complaint would impact healthcare quality, whether patients and regulators had similar expectations, and if expectations are different whether the complaints are clinical or nonclinical in nature. Results show a mismatch between expectations of patients and regulators.
Weenink J-W, Wallenburg I, Leistikow I, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30(10):804-811.
This qualitative study explored the impact of published inspection frameworks on quality and safety in nursing home care, dental care, and hospital care. Respondents noted the importance of the inspection framework design, the role of existing institutional frameworks, and how the frameworks can influence quality improvement across various organizational levels.

Ridge K. London, England: Crown Copyright; 2021. September 22, 2021.

Overprescribing has attained prominence as a safety issue due to the current opioid epidemic, but it has long reduced medication safety across the spectrum of health care. The report examines the systemic and cultural issues that contribute to overprescribing and recommends a governmental leadership position to drive change and implement deprescribing and other reduction initiatives.
Arntson E, Dimick JB, Nuliyalu U, et al. Ann Surg. 2021;274(4):e301-e307.
Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) are thought to be preventable, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reduce payments to hospitals with the highest rates of these conditions through its Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HACRP). This study evaluated surgical HACs at three timepoints: before Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, after ACA implementation, and after HACRP. While the number of HACs continued to decline after implementation of HACRP, it did not affect 30-day mortality.

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.