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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.
Spencer RA, Singh Punia H. Patient Educ Couns. 2021;104:1681-1703.
Communication failures during transitions of care can threaten safe patient care. Although this systematic review identified several tools to support communication between inpatient providers and patients during transitions from hospital to home, the authors did not identify any existing tools to support the post-discharge period in primary care.
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).
Pestian T, Thienprayoon R, Grossoehme D, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2020;5:e328.
The authors used qualitative data to evaluate parental perspectives of quality in pediatric home-based hospice and palliative care (HBHPC) programs, and how parents define “safe care” in the home. Thematic analysis identified eight domains of safety prioritized by patients, including an emphasis on the safety of the physical environment, medication safety, maintaining comfort and preventing harm, and trust in the HBHPC caregivers.
Gallagher R, Passmore MJ, Baldwin C. Med Hypotheses. 2020;142:109727.
The authors of this article suggest that offering palliative care services earlier should be considered a patient safety issue. They highlight three cases in which patients in Canada requested medical assistance in dying (MAiD). The patients in two of the cases were never offered palliative care services, and this could be considered a medical error – had they been offered palliative care services, they may have changed their mind about MAiD, as did the patient in the third case study.
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.
Kim S, Appelbaum NP, Baker N, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2020;42:249-263.
This review summarizes studies of training programs targeting healthcare professionals’ speaking up skills. The authors found that most training programs were limited to a one-time training delivered to a single profession (i.e., limited to doctors or nurses).  The majority of programs addressed legitimate power (i.e., social norms such as titles) but few addressed other types of power (e.g., reward or coercive power, personal resources) or the non-verbal (i.e., emotional) skills required in speaking-up behaviors.  
Giardina TD, Royse KE, Khanna A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:282-290.
This study analyzed self-reported adverse events captured on a national online questionnaire to determine the association between patient-reported contributory factors and patient-reported physical, emotional or financial harm. Contributory factors identified in the analysis focused on issues with health care personnel communication, fatigue, or response (e.g., doctor was slow to arrive, nurse was slow to respond to call button). These patient-reported contributory factors increased the likelihood of reporting any type of harm.
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.
Oliva EM, Bowe T, Manhapra A, et al. BMJ. 2020;386:m283.
Guidelines recommend safe opioid prescribing but also warn against sudden tapering or discontinuation of opioids, which can lead to harm among patients physically dependent on the medications. Using data from the Veterans Heath Administration (VA), this observational study examined the association between opioid treatment cessation and death from overdose or suicide. Researchers found an increased risk of death from overdose or suicide regardless of the length of treatment; the risk of death increased with longer treatment duration. The authors recommend that efforts to improve opioid safety include assessing risks that may place patients at risk for overdose or suicide whether they continue or stop opioid treatment.
Maxwell J, Bourgoin A, Crandall J. Rockville, MD : Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2020.
Project RED re-engineered discharge with the goal of reducing preventable readmissions. This report summarizes an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality project to transfer the Project RED experience to the primary care environment. Areas of focus included enhancing the team leader role of primary care physicians in post-discharge care.
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.
Johnson AH, Benham‐Hutchins M. AORN J. 2020;111.
Unprofessional behaviors negatively impact teams and can undermine patient safety. This systematic review examined the influence of bullying on nursing errors across multiple healthcare settings. Fourteen articles were included in the review and four themes were identified: the influence of work environment; individual-level connections between bullying and errors; barriers to teamwork, and; communication impairment. While nurses perceive that bullying influences errors and patient outcomes, the mechanisms are unclear and more research is necessary to determined how bullying impacts nursing practice error.
Owen-Smith A, Stewart C, Sesay MM, et al. BMC Psych. 2020;20:40.
Prescription opioids are associated with an increased risk of adverse drug events and individual’s underlying mental health conditions may be more likely to be prescribed long-term opioid therapy. This study examined opioid treatment patterns among individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder (MDD) and found that having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or MDD was associated with increased odds of receiving chronic opioid mediations, whereas a diagnosis of schizophrenia was not.
Hochman M, Bourgoin A, Saluja S, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2019. AHRQ Publication No. 18(19)-0055-EF.
Programs are in place to address hospital discharge process gaps that contribute to readmissions. This report summarizes research on primary care perspectives on reducing readmissions. Interventions identified include automated alerting to primary care providers when patients are hospitalized and the patient-centered medical home model.
Hong K, Hong YD, Cooke CE. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2019;15:823-826.
Medication errors are common in inpatient and ambulatory environments. This commentary summarizes the research exploring the current status of medication safety incident reporting and reduction efforts in community pharmacies. The authors call for community pharmacy corporations to encourage the discussion and data sharing needed to increase transparency around incidents in this care setting. A recent PSNet interview discussed challenges to safety in the retail pharmacy environment.
Patient engagement is widely acknowledged as a cornerstone of patient safety. Research in 2018 demonstrates that patient engagement, when done correctly, can help health care systems identify safety hazards, regain trust after they occur, and codesign sustainable solutions.