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Meyer AND, Giardina TD, Khawaja L, et al. Patient Educ Couns. 2021;104:2606-2615.
Diagnostic uncertainty can lead to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. This article provides an overview of the literature on diagnosis-related uncertainty, where uncertainty occurs in the diagnostic process and outlines recommendations for managing diagnostic uncertainty.
Newman B, Joseph K, Chauhan A, et al. Health Expect. 2021;24:1905-1923.
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).
Pinheiro LC, Reshetnyak E, Safford MM, et al. Med Care. 2021;59:901-906.
Prior research has found that racial/ethnic minorities may be at higher risk for adverse patient safety outcomes. This study evaluated racial disparities in self-reported adverse events based on cross-sectional survey data collected as part of a national, prospective cohort evaluating stroke mortality. Findings show that Black participants were significantly more likely to report a preventable adverse event attributable to poor care coordination (e.g., drug-drug interaction, emergency department visitor, or hospitalization) compared to White participants.
Lippke S, Derksen C, Keller FM, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18:2616.
Communication is an essential component of safe patient care. This review of 71 studies found that communication training interventions in obstetrics can improve communication skills and behavior, particularly when combined with team training. The authors identified a lack of evidence regarding the effect of communication trainings on patient safety outcomes and suggest that future research should assess this relationship. Study findings underscore the need for adequate communication trainings to be provided to all staff and expectant mothers and their partners.
Lai AY. J Am Board Fam Med. 2020;33:754-764.
This study used qualitative methods to compare how patients versus front clinicians, administrators and staff conceptualize patient safety in primary care. Findings indicate that work function-based conceptualizations of patient safety (e.g., good communication and providing appropriate, timely care) better reflect the experiences of healthcare personnel and patients rather than domain-based conceptualizations (e.g., diagnosis, care transitions, and medications).
Nygaard AM, Selnes Haugdahl H, Støre Brinchmann B, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2020;29:3822-3834.
Handoffs are essential to communicating important information and preventing adverse patient care outcomes.  This qualitative study explored how information about ICU patients’ family members is included in handovers. Findings suggest that written documentation about the family is inadequate and poorly structured and there is a need for user-friendly handoff tools that include information on patients’ family members.
Daliri S, Boujarfi S, el Mokaddam A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:146-156.
This systematic review examined the effects of medication-related interventions on readmissions, medication errors, adverse drug events, medication adherence, and mortality. Meta-analyses indicate that medication-related interventions reduce 30-day readmissions and the positive effect increased with higher intervention intensities (e.g., additional intervention components). Additional research is required to determine the effects on adherence, mortality, and medication errors and adverse drug events.
Amin PB, Bradford CD, Rizos AL, et al. J Pharm Pract. 2020;33:306-313.
This pilot study evaluated the impact of transitional care pharmacist medication-related interventions in skilled nursing settings on 30-day hospital readmissions. The intervention group received transitional services involving a pharmacist (such as medication reconciliation, coordination with the skill nursing case manager and physician, and patient/caregiver education) and the control group received transitional services without pharmacist involvement. Over the follow-up period, median time to readmission was significantly longer in the intervention group but 30-day readmission rates were non-statistically significantly lower in the intervention compared to control group.
Balsom C, Pittman N, King R, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2020:Epub Jun 3.
Polypharmacy is one risk factor for medication errors in older adults. This study describes the implementation of a pharmacist-administered deprescribing program in a long-term care facility in Canada. Over a one-year period, residents were randomized to receive either a deprescribing-focused medication review by a pharmacist or usual care. The intervention resulted in fewer medications taken by residents the intervention group after 6 months. Most deprescribing recommendations reflected a lack of ongoing indication or a dosage that was too high.
Keller S, Yule S, Zagarese V, et al. BMJ Open. 2020;10:e035471.
Unprofessional behavior can hinder patient safety and create a disruptive work environment. Encompassing both qualitative and quantitative literature, this systematic review explored predictors and triggers of incivility in medical teams (defined as disrespectful behaviors but whose intent to harm is ambiguous). The review identified a wide range of triggers of incivility. Studies generally found that incivility occurs mainly within professional disciplines rather than across disciplines (e.g., physician to nurse) and surgery was the most commonly cited uncivil specialty. Situational and cultural triggers for incivility included excessive workload, communication issues, patient safety concerns, lack or support, and poor leadership.
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.
Wiig S, Hibbert PD, Braithwaite J. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;32.
The authors discuss how involving families in the investigations of fatal adverse events can improve the investigations by broadening perspectives and providing new information, but can also present challenges due to emotions, trust, and potential conflicts in perspectives between providers and families.
Franklin BJ, Gandhi TK, Bates DW, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:844–853.
Huddles are one technique to enhance team communication, identify safety concerns and built a culture of safety. This systematic review synthesized 24 studies examining the impact of either unit-based or hospital-wide/multiunit safety huddles. The majority of studies were uncontrolled pre-post study designs; only two studies were controlled and quantitatively measured intervention adoption and fidelity. Results for unit-based huddle programs appear positive. Given the limited number of studies evaluating hospital-wide huddle programs, the authors conclude that there is insufficient evidence to assess the benefit. Further research employing strong methodological designs is required to definitively assess the impact of huddle programs.
Herledan C, Baudouin A, Larbre V, et al. Support Care Cancer. 2020;28:3557-3569.
This systematic review synthesizes the evidence from 14 studies on medication reconciliation in cancer patients. While the majority of studies did not include a contemporaneous comparison group, they did report that medication reconciliation led to medication error identification (most frequently drug omissions, additions or dosage errors) in up to 88-95% of patients.
Sheridan S, Merryweather P, Rusz D, et al. Washington, DC: National Academy of Medicine; 2020.
Safety initiatives can be enhanced by engaging patients in the development process. This report highlights one project as an example of how to involve patients as partners in diagnostic improvement research projects. The program resulted in a curriculum that prepared patients to participate as team members in diagnostic improvement studies.
DeAntonio JH, Leichtle SW, Hobgood S, et al. J Surg Res. 2019;246:482-489.
Trauma patients are particularly vulnerable to medication errors due to the severity of their injuries and the multiple handoffs and transitions often occurring during their hospital stay. This article reviewed existing medication reconciliation strategies and found that many have poor accuracy, can be costly and time-consuming, and may not be applicable to a trauma population.  The authors comment on the urgent need for research supporting safe and efficient medication reconciliation in trauma patients.
Prentice JC, Bell SK, Thomas EJ, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:883-894.
This article describes results of a cross-sectional recontact survey of Massachusetts residents on the persisting impacts of medical errors. Over half of respondents on the self-reporting a medical error 3-6 years ago survey stated at least one emotional impact, avoiding the doctor(s) or facility(s) involved in the error, and two-thirds of respondents reported a loss of trust after the medical error. Logistical regression analyses, controlling for error severity, suggests that open communication can reduce persistent emotional impacts and avoidance of doctors/facilities involved in the error.
Presley CA, Wooldridge KT, Byerly SH, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77:128-137.
This article reports mixed results of a two-year mentor-implemented feasibility study designed to improve medication reconciliation practices in rural Veterans Affairs hospitals. The authors highlight facilitators and barriers to implementing their evidence-based intervention in smaller hospitals.
McHugh SK, Lawton R, O'Hara JK, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:672-683.
Team reflexivity represents the way individuals and team members collectively reflect on actions and behaviors, and the context in which these actions occur.  This systematic review identified 15 studies describing the use of team reflexivity within healthcare teams. Included interventions, most commonly simulation training  and video-reflexive ethnography, focused on the use of reflexivity to improve teamwork and communication. However, methodological limitations of included studies precluded the authors from drawing conclusions around the impact of team reflexivity alone on teamwork and communication.
Simpkin AL, Armstrong KA. J Gen Intern Med. 2019;34:2586-2591.
Uncertainty in care delivery is rarely discussed among clinicians or as a part of the shared decision-making process. This review examines factors that contribute to this communication gap. The authors recommend assessing patient communication preferences, tactics to discuss risk and ambiguity, emotional support models, and explaining contingency plans as strategies for effective discussions when uncertainty is present in care decisions.