The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
NHSX, NHS Digital, NHS England, et al. London, England: Crown Copyright; September 2021.
Digital clinical technologies hold promise for care improvement while contributing to potential failures due to the lack of collective guidance to assess and measure if they are safe. This document provides background on digital safety. It shares an approach that aligns with the United Kingdom system safety strategy to situate its priorities and support the strategy.
Ensuring maternal safety is a patient safety priority. This library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on improving maternal safety. Included resources explore strategies with the potential to improve maternal care delivery and outcomes, such as high reliability, collaborative initiatives, teamwork, and trigger tools.
Grundgeiger T, Hurtienne J, Happel O. Hum Factors. 2020;63:821-832.
The usability of information technology continues to be a challenge in health care. The authors suggest that consideration of the user is critical to improving interaction with technology and thus increasing patient safety. They provide a theoretical foundation for considering user experience in healthcare.
Stokke R, Melby L, Isaksen J, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21:553.
This article explored the interface of technology and patients in home care. Researchers identified three work processes that contribute to patient safety: aligning people with technologies, being alert and staying calm, and coordinating activities based on people and technology. Topics for future research should include the division of labor on home care shifts, the need for new routines and education in telecare for care workers, and how decisions are made regarding home technology.
Aftab H, Shah SHH, Habli I. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2021;281:659-663.
Patients are increasingly using the internet and conversational agents (CAs) like Siri, Alexa, and Google to find answers to their healthcare questions. Investigators used these CAs to detect errors and failures in calculating correct insulin doses. Failure classes include misunderstanding and misrecognition of words. Potential failures must be considered before deployment of CAs in safety-critical environments.
Scantlebury A, Sheard L, Fedell C, et al. Digit Health. 2021;7:205520762110100.
Electronic health record (EHR) downtime can disrupt patient care and increase risk for medical errors. Semi-structured interviews with healthcare staff and leadership at one large hospital in England illustrate the negative consequences of a three-week downtime of an electronic pathology system on patient experience and safety. The authors propose recommendations for hospitals to consider when preparing for potential technology downtimes.
Computerized prescriber (or physician) order entry (CPOE) systems are widely used in healthcare and studies have shown a reduction in medication errors with CPOE. This study focused on whether CPOE systems improved the incidence of chemotherapy-related medication errors. The study included 11 studies in the review but only 8 studies were in the meta-analysis. The authors found that the use of CPOE was associated with an 81% reduction in chemotherapy-related medication errors, indicating that CPOE is a valuable strategy for this patient population.
Kostopoulou O, Tracey C, Delaney BC. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:1461-1467.
In addition to being used for patient-specific clinical purposes, data within the electronic health record (EHR) may be used for other purposes including epidemiological research. Researchers in the UK developed and tested a clinical decision support system (CDSS) to evaluate changes in the types and number of observations that primary care physicians entered into the EHR during simulated patient encounters. Physicians documented more clinical observations using the CDSS compared to the standard electronic health record. The increase in documented clinical observations has the potential to improve validity of research developed from EHR data.
Lewandowska K, Weisbrot M, Cieloszyk A, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17:8409.
Alarm fatigue, which can lead to desensitization and threaten patient safety, is particularly concerning in intensive care settings. This systematic review concluded that alarm fatigue may have serious consequences for both patients and nursing staff. Included studies reported that nurses considered alarms to be burdensome, too frequent, interfering with patient care, and resulted in distrust in the alarm system. These findings point to the need for a strategy for alarm management and measuring alarm fatigue.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) can prevent prescribing errors, but patient safety threats persist. Based on qualitative interviews with multidisciplinary prescribers, the authors identified several issues related to CPOE interacting within a complex prescribing environment, including alert fatigue, remote prescribing, and default auto-population of dosages.
Avery AJ, Sheehan C, Bell BG, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:961-976.
Patient safety in primary care is an emerging focus for research and policy. The authors of this study retrospectively reviewed case notes from 14,407 primary care patients in the United Kingdom. Their analysis identified three primary types of avoidable harm in primary care – problems with diagnoses, medication-related problems, and delayed referrals. The authors suggest several methods to reduce avoidable harm in primary care, including optimizing existing information technology, enhanced team communication and coordination, and greater continuity of care.
Keen J, Abdulwahid MA, King N, et al. BMJ Open. 2020;10:e036608.
Health information technology has the potential to improve patient safety in both inpatient and outpatient settings. This systematic review explored the effect of technology networks across health systems (e.g., linking patient records across different organizations) on care coordination and medication reconciliation for older adults living at home. The authors identified several barriers to use of such networks but did not identify robust evidence on their association with safety-related outcomes.
Pelaccia T, Messman AM, Kline JA. Patient Edu Couns. 2020;103:1650-1656.
The hectic and complex environment of emergency care can reduce diagnostic safety. This article discusses clinical reasoning and decision-making strategies used by emergency medicine physicians, contributing factors to diagnostic errors occurring in emergency medicine (e.g., overconfidence, cognitive stress, anchoring bias), and strategies to reduce the risk of error. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving diagnostic delay in the emergency department.
Elliott J, Williamson K. Radiography. 2020;26:248-253.
Extended work shifts for nurses and physicians have been linked to increased risk of errors. In this systematic review, the authors discuss the impact of shift work disorder on errors and safety implications for radiographers. Studies suggested a positive correlation between errors and increased mental and physical fatigue resulting from shift work or rapid shift rotation, however none of the identified studies focused specifically on radiology professionals.
Röösli E, Rice B, Hernandez-Boussard T. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:190-192.
This article discusses the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minority groups and how the use of artificial intelligence (AI) may exacerbate these disparities due to underlying biases in AI tools.
Pfeiffer Y, Zimmermann C, Schwappach DLB. J Patient Saf. 2020;Publish Ahead of Print.
This study examined patient safety issues stemming from health information technology (HIT)-related information management hazards. The authors identified eleven thematic groups describing such hazards occurring at a systemic level, such as fragmentation of patient information, “information islands” (e.g., nurses and physicians have separate information sets despite the same HIT system), and inadequate information structures (e.g., no drug interaction warning integrated in the chemotherapy prescribing tool).
Härkänen M, Vehviläinen‐Julkunen K, Murrells T, et al. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2019;52:113-123.
This retrospective study used descriptive statistics, manual analysis, and text mining of medication-related incident reports and staffing (N = 72,390) in England and Wales. The text mining was conducted with SAS Text Minor tool. Effective trigger terms included “short staffing”, “workload”, and “extremely busy”. The authors concluded that inadequate staffing, workload, and working in haste may increase the risk for errors. The key importance of this article is the use of an automated system to analyze incident reports.
Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; October 2019.
Design flaws and improper use of technologies that transfer medication and prescription information between provider environments is a known threat to patient safety. This report analyzes an anticoagulant overdose incident and found that information technology missteps contributed to the error.
Whitaker P. New Statesman. August 2, 2019;148:38-43.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced computing technologies can enhance clinical decision-making. Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of artificial intelligence, this news article cautions against the wide deployment of AI until robust evaluation and implementation strategies are in place to enhance system reliability. A recent PSNet perspective discussed emerging safety issues in the use of artificial intelligence.
Challenges associated with electronic health record design and implementation contribute to interruptions, workarounds, and information overload. This book explores topics relevant to workflow disruptions that can degrade safe practice. The chapters review strategies such as data analysis techniques and human factors engineering to generate improvements.