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Bernstein SL, Kelechi TJ, Catchpole K, et al. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2021;18:352-360.
Failure to rescue, the delayed or missed recognition of a potentially fatal complication that results in the patient’s death, is particularly tragic in obstetric care. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework, the authors describe the work system, process, and outcomes related to failure to rescue, and develop intervention theories.
Rosenthal CM, Parker DM, Thompson LA. JAMA Pediatr. 2022;176:119-120.
The care of child abuse victims is affected by resource, racial and infrastructure challenges. This commentary describes how the systemic weaknesses catalyzed by poor data collection approaches contribute to misdiagnosis and suggests that successes be mined to minimize the proliferation of continued disparities in this patient population.
Burrus S, Hall M, Tooley E, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2020030346.
Based on analysis of four years of data submitted to the Child Health Patient Safety Organization (CHILDPSO), researchers sought to identify types of serious safety events and contributing factors. Three main groups of serious safety events were identified: patient care management, procedural errors, and product or device errors. Contributing factors included lack of situational awareness, process failures, and failure to communicate effectively.
Keister LA, Stecher C, Aronson B, et al. BMC Public Health. 2021;21:1518.
Constrained diagnostic situations in the emergency department (ED), such as crowding, can impact safe care. Based on multiple years of electronic health record data from one ED at a large U.S. hospital, researchers found that providers were significantly less likely to prescribe opioids during constrained diagnostic situations and less likely to prescribe opioids to high-risk patients or racial/ethnic minorities.
Petrosoniak A, Fan M, Hicks CM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:739-746.
Trauma resuscitation is a complex, specialized process with a high risk for errors. Researchers analyzed videotapes of in situ simulations to evaluate latent safety events occurring during trauma resuscitation. Themes influencing latent safety events related to physical workspace, mental model formation, equipment, unclear accountability, demands exceeding individuals’ capacity, and task-specific issues.
Zestcott CA, Spece L, McDermott D, et al. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021;8:230-236.
Implicit bias can contribute to poor decision-making and lead to poor patient outcomes. This qualitative study found that many healthcare providers have negative implicit attitudes about American Indians, such as implicitly stereotyping American Indians as noncompliant patients. The effect of these implicit attitudes and stereotypes was moderated by self-reported cultural competency and implicit bias training.
Zwaan L, El-Kareh R, Meyer AND, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;36:2943-2951.
Reducing harm related to diagnostic error remains a major focus within patient safety. Based on input from an international group of experts and stakeholders, the authors identified priority questions to advance diagnostic safety research. High-priority areas include strengthening teamwork factors (such as the role of nurses in diagnosis), addressing system factors, and strategies for engaging patients in the diagnostic process.
Zhou Y, Walter FM, Singh H, et al. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13:156.
Delays in cancer diagnosis can lead to treatment delays and patient harm. This study linking primary care and cancer registry data found that more than one-quarter of bladder and kidney cancer patients presenting with fast-tract referral features did not achieve a timely diagnosis. These findings suggest inadequate adherence to guidelines intended to help identify patients with high risk of cancer based on the presence of alarm signs and symptoms.
Bailey ZD, Feldman JM, Bassett MT. N Engl J Med. 2020;384:768-773.
Structural racism affects both population and individual health. This article proposes four key areas in which the medical and public health communities can contribute in order to change policy and social norms: documenting the impact of racism on health; improving the collection and availability of race and ethnicity data; turning the lens to themselves; and, acknowledging that structural racism has been challenged by mass social movements.
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.
Avesar M, Erez A, Essakow J, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:358-367.
Disruptive and rude behavior can hinder teamwork and diminish patient safety. This randomized, simulation-based study including attendings, fellows, and residents explored whether rudeness during handoff affects the likelihood for challenging a diagnostic error. The authors found that rudeness may disproportionally hinder diagnostic performance among less experienced physicians.
Turner K, Staggs V, Potter C, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:1000-1007.
Fall prevention remains a patient safety priority. This article describes how fall prevention strategies are being implemented and operationalized across 60 hospitals in the United States. While many hospitals employed recommended strategies identified, implementation was suboptimal at times – for example, interdisciplinary fall committees were common but rarely included physicians.
Delvaux N, Piessens V, Burghgraeve TD, et al. Implement Sci. 2020;15:100.
Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) have the potential to improve patient safety. This randomized trial evaluated the impact of integrating CDSS into CPOE among general practitioners in Belgium. The intervention improved appropriateness and decreased volume of laboratory test ordering and did not show any increases in diagnostic errors.
Donovan AL, Aaronson EL, Black L, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:23-30.
Patient suicide, attempted suicide, or self-harm are considered ‘never events.’ This article describes the development and implementation of a safety protocol for emergency department (ED) patients at risk for self-harm, including the creation of safe bathrooms and increasing the number of trained observers in the ED. Implementation of the protocol was correlated with lower rates of self-harm.  
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.
Lau VI, Priestap FA, Lam JNH, et al. J Intensive Care Med. 2020;35:1067-1073.
Many factors can contribute to early, unplanned readmissions among critical care patients. In this prospective cohort study, adult patients who were discharged directly home after an ICU admission were followed for 8 weeks post-discharge to explore the predictors of adverse events and unplanned return visits to a health care facility. Among 129 patients, there were 39 unplanned return visits. Researchers identified eight predictors of unplanned return visits including prior substance abuse, hepatitis, discharge diagnosis of sepsis, ICU length of stay exceeding 2 days, nursing workload, and leaving against medical advice.  

Herd P, Moynihan D. Health Affairs Health Policy Brief. October 2, 2020.

The crossover of health equity concepts to patient safety has emerged as a consideration for improvement. This policy brief examines how administrative burdens can separate patients from the care they need and calls for increased attention to the problem.  
Deacon A, O’Neill T, Delaloye N, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2020;10:758-766.
This qualitative study used a resuscitation simulation to explore the effect of family presence during resuscitation on team performance. Thematic analyses identified five key factors that are influenced by the presence of a parent during resuscitation – resuscitation environment, affective responses, cognitive responses, behavioral responses, and team dynamics.
Bittman J, Nijjar AP, Tam P, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:e169-e173.
This study found that two early warning scores – the Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS) and the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) – can predict patients at risk of deterioration and who will need to be seen by a physician overnight. The authors conclude that use of such early warning scores may be useful for improving handoffs and resource allocation for overnight care.