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Galatzan BJ, Carrington JM. Res Nurs Health. 2021;44:833-843.
During handoffs, nurses are exposed to a variety of interruptions and distractions which may lead to cognitive overload. Using natural language processing, researchers analyzed ten audio-recorded change of shift handoffs to estimate the cognitive load experienced by nurses. Nurses’ use of concise language has the potential to decrease cognitive overload and improve patient outcomes.
Manias E, Street M, Lowe G, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21:1025.
This study explored associations between person-related (e.g., individual responsible for medication error), environment-related (e.g., transitions of care), and communication-related (e.g., misreading of medication order) medication errors in two Australian hospitals. The authors recommend that improved communication regarding medications with patients and families could reduce medication errors associated with possible or probable harm.
Burden AR, Potestio C, Pukenas E. Adv Anesth. 2021;39:133-148.
Handoffs occur several times during a perioperative encounter, increasing the risk of communication errors. Structured handoffs, such as situation-background-assessment-recommendation (SBAR) and checklists, have been shown to improve communication between providers during anesthesia care. The authors discuss how these tools and other processes can improve shared understanding of effective handoffs.
Morse KE, Chadwick WA, Paul W, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2021;6:e436.
The goal of medication reconciliation is to identify medication inconsistencies at hospital discharge. This study identified six common medication reconciliation errors at discharge – duplication, missing route, missing dose, missing frequency, unlisted medication, and “see instructions” errors. The authors evaluated the prevalence of these errors at two pediatric hospitals and found that duplication and “see instructions” errors were most common. 
Hofer IS, Cheng D, Grogan T. Anesth Analg. 2021;133:698-706.
Anesthesia-related adverse events have been associated with increased length of stay, morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the effect of missed documentation of select comorbidities on postoperative length of stay and mortality. Results indicate that missed documentation of one of the comorbid conditions increased risk of length of stay, and mortality was increased with missed atrial fibrillation.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. October 7, 2021;26(20):1-4.

Production pressure and low staff coverage can result in medication mistakes in community pharmacies. This article shares reported vaccine errors and factors contributing to mistaken administration of flu and COVID vaccines. Storage, staffing and collaboration strategies are shared to protect against vaccine mistakes.
Lafferty M, Harrod M, Krein SL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:28(12).
Use of one-way communication technologies, such as pagers, in hospitals have led to workarounds to improve communication. Through observation, shadowing, interviews, and focus groups with nurses and physicians, this study describes antecedents, types, and effects of workarounds and their potential impact on patient safety.
Martin GP, Chew S, Dixon-Woods M. Soc Sci Med. 2021;287:114375.
Engaging patients and families in patient safety efforts and encouraging them to speak up about concerns is an ongoing healthcare priority. Based on narrative interviews with people raising and responding to concerns and complaints in six English National Health Service (NHS) organizations, this study explored how substandard responses to concerns and complaints can lead to organizational failures.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; September 9, 2021.

In-depth failure investigations provide improvement insights for individuals and organizations alike. This report analyzes a collection of UK National Health Service incident examinations and provides recommendations for improvement on themes related to care transitions and access, decision making, communication, and point-of-care activity.
Combs CA, Einerson BD, Toner LE. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021;225:b43-b49.
Maternal and newborn safety is challenged during cesarean delivery due to the complexities of the practice. This guideline recommends specific checklist elements to direct coordination and communication between the two teams engaged in cesarean deliveries. The guideline provides a sample checklist and steps for its implementation.
Van Eerd D, D'Elia T, Ferron EM, et al. J Safety Res. 2021;78:9-18.
Working conditions for healthcare workers can affect patient safety. Conducted at four long-term care facilities in Canada, this study found that a participatory organizational change program can have positive impacts on identifying and reducing musculoskeletal disorder hazards for employees, including slips, trips, falls, and ergonomic hazards. Key factors for successful implementation of the change program include frontline staff involvement/engagement, support from management, and training.
Gillespie BM, Harbeck EL, Kang E, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e448-e454.
Nontechnical skills such as teamwork and communication can influence surgical performance. This Australian hospital implemented a team training program for surgical teams focused on improving individual and shared situational awareness which led to improvements in nontechnical skills.

London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; 2021. ISBN 9781528627016. 

Lack of appropriate follow up of diagnostic imaging can result in care delays, patient harm, and death. This report summarizes an investigation of 25 imaging failures in the British National Health Service (NHS). The analysis identified communication and coordination issues resulting in lack of action and reporting of unanticipated findings to properly advance care. Recommendations to improve imaging in the NHS include use of previous analyses to enhance learning from failure.
Chladek MS, Doughty C, Patel B, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001254.
The I-PASS handoff bundle has been successful at improving patient safety during handoffs in the hospital. A pediatric emergency department implemented the I-PASS bundle to improve handoffs between medical residents. Results showed a 53% decrease in omissions of crucial information and residents perceived improvement in patient safety.
Werner NE, Rutkowski RA, Krause S, et al. Appl Ergon. 2021;96:103509.
Shared mental models contribute to effective team collaboration and communication. Based on interviews and thematic analysis, the authors explored mental models between the emergency department (ED) and skilled nursing facility (SNF). The authors found that these healthcare professionals had misaligned mental models regarding communication during care transitions and healthcare setting capability, and that these misalignments led to consequences for patients, professionals, and the organization.
Stolldorf DP, Ridner SH, Vogus TJ, et al. Implement Sci Commun. 2021;2:63.
Implementing effective interventions supporting medication reconciliation is an ongoing challenge. Using qualitative data, the authors explored how different hospitals implemented one evidence-based medication reconciliation toolkit. Thematic analyses suggest that the most commonly used implementation strategies included restructuring (e.g., altered staffing, equipment, data systems); quality management tools (e.g., audit and feedback, advisory boards); thorough planning and preparing for implementation; and education and training with stakeholders.
Evans S, Green A, Roberson A, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:151-156.
A lack of situational awareness can lead to delayed recognition of patient deterioration. This children’s hospital developed and implemented a situational awareness framework designed to decrease emergency transfers to the intensive care unit (ICU). The framework included both objective and subjective criteria. By identifying patients at increased risk of clinical deterioration (“watcher status”) and use of the framework, recognition of deterioration occurred sooner and resulted in fewer emergency transfers to the ICU.
Abraham J, Meng A, Sona C, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2021;151:104458.
Standardized handoff protocols from the operating room to the intensive care unit have improved patient safety, but clinician compliance and long-term sustainability remain poor. This study identified four phases of post-operative handoff associated with risk factors: pre-transfer preparation, transfer and set up, report preparation and delivery, and post-transfer care. The authors recommend “flexibly standardized” handoff intervention tools for safe transfer from operating room to intensive care.