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Sharma AE, Huang B, Del Rosario JB, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001421.
Patients and caregivers play an essential role in safe ambulatory care. This mixed-methods analysis of ambulatory safety reports identified three themes related to patient and caregivers factors contributing to events – (1) clinical advice conflicting with patient priorities, (2) breakdowns in communication and patient education contributing to medication adverse events, and (3) the fact that patients with disabilities are vulnerable to due to the external environment.  

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. November 4, 2021;26(22); 1-4.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment during life-threatening emergencies such as strokes can result in irreversible patient harm. This article discusses a variety of factors contributing to errors in administering hypertonic sodium chloride in emergent situations. The piece shares recommendations touching on various elements of the medication delivery process to enhance safety.

A 78-year-old woman with macular degeneration presented for a pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) with an eye block. At this particular hospital, eye cases under MAC are typically performed with an eye block by the surgeon after the anesthesiologist has administered some short-acting sedation, commonly with remifentanil. On this day, there was a shortage of premixed remifentanil and the resident – who was unfamiliar with the process of drug dilution – incorrectly diluted the remifentanil solution.

Moureaud C, Hertig JB, Dong Y, et al. Health Policy (New York). 2021;125:1421-1429.
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.
Huynh I, Rajendran T. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001363.
Unintentional therapeutic duplication can lead to life-threatening complications. As part of a quality improvement project on a surgical ward, staff were educated about the risks of therapeutic duplication and strategies to decrease it. After one month of education and reminders, the rate of therapeutic duplication decreased by more than half.

Mirtallo JM, Ayers P. Pharmacy Practice News. September 7, 2021;48(9):17-20.

Parenteral nutrition (PN) processes contain various steps that are prone to errors resulting in patient harm. This article discusses standardization as a strategy to reduce the potential for missteps and shares resources for process evaluation to improve PN reliability and safety.
Siebert JN, Bloudeau L, Combescure C, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4:e2123007.
Medication errors are common in pediatric patients who require care from emergency medical services. This randomized trial measured the impact of a mobile app in reducing medication errors during simulated pediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrest scenarios. Advanced paramedics were exposed to a standardized video simulation of an 18-month of child with cardiac arrest and tested on sequential preparations of intravenous emergency drugs of varying degrees of difficulty with or without mobile app support. Compared with conventional drug preparation methods, use of the mobile app significantly decreased the rate of medication errors and time to drug delivery.
Stuijt CCM, Bekker CL, van den Bemt BJF, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;17:1426-1432.
This multicenter prospective study explored the effect of medication reconciliation on patient-reported, potential adverse events post-discharge. Although the intervention – which consisted of a pharmacy team providing patient both education and medication review upon admission and discharge as well as information transfer to primary care – did not decrease the proportion of patients with adverse events, it did reduce the number of potential adverse events.
Hoyle JD, Ekblad G, Woodwyk A, et al. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2021:1-8.
Inaccurate assessment of pediatric patient weight can lead to medication dosing errors. In simulated pediatric scenarios, pre-hospital emergency medical services (EMS) crews obtained patient weight using one or more of three methods: asking parent, using patient age, and Broselow-Luten Tape (BLT). BLT was the most frequent method used and patient age resulted in the most frequent dosing errors. Systems-based solutions are presented.
Metersky ML, Eldridge N, Wang Y, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:253-259.
The July Effect is a belief that the quality of care delivered in academic medical centers decreases during July and August due to the arrival of new trainees. Using data from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System, this retrospective cohort, including over 185,000 hospital admissions from 2010 to 2017, found that patients admitted to teaching hospitals in July and August did not experience higher rates of adverse events compared to patients admitted to non-teaching hospitals.
Lopez-Pineda A, Gonzalez de Dios J, Guilabert Mora M, et al. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2021:1-11.
Medication administration errors made by parent or caregivers can result in medication errors at home. This systematic review found that 30% to 80% of pediatric patients experience a medication error at home, and that the risk increases based on characteristics of the caregiver and if a prescription contains more than two drugs.
Jaam M, Naseralallah LM, Hussain TA, et al. PLoS One. 2021;16:e0253588.
Including pharmacists can improve patient safety across the medication prescribing continuum. This review identified twelve pharmacist-led educational interventions aimed at improving medication safety. The phase, educational strategy, patient population, and audience varied across studies; however most showed some reductions in medication errors.

This commentary presents two cases highlighting common medication errors in retail pharmacy settings and discusses the importance of mandatory counseling for new medications, use of standardized error reporting processes, and the role of clinical decision support systems (CDSS) in medical decision-making and ensuring medication safety.

James Augustine, MD, is the National Director of Prehospital Strategy at US Acute Care Solutions where he provides service as a Fire EMS Medical Director. We spoke with him about threats and concerns for patient safety for EMS when responding to a 911 call.

Sullivan KM, Le PL, Ditoro MJ, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:311-315.
High-alert medications have the potential to cause serious patient harm. A brief survey of pharmacy staff, nurses, and physicians found that less than half expressed confidence in their knowledge of high-alert medications.  After implementation of an intervention to enhance staff knowledge of high-alert medications, confidence significantly increased, and most respondents could correctly identify high alert medications and associated procedures.