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.
Vo J, Gillman A, Mitchell K, et al. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2021;25:17-24.
Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare can affect patient safety and contribute to adverse health outcomes. This review outlines the impact of health disparities and treatment decision-making biases (implicit bias, default bias, delay discounting, and availability bias) on cancer-related adverse effects among Black cancer survivors. The authors identify several ways that nurses may help mitigate health disparity-related adverse treatment effects, such as providing culturally appropriate care; assessing patient health literacy and comprehension; educating, empowering, and advocating for patients; and adhering to evidence-based guidelines for monitoring and management of treatment-related adverse events. The authors also discuss the importance of ongoing training on the impact of structural racism, ways to mitigate its effects, and the role of research and implementation to reduce implicit bias.
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.
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.
This cross-sectional study examined whether racial/ethnic disparities in interhospital transfers (IHT) for common medical diagnoses such as heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and sepsis, impact mortality outcomes. The authors analyzed 899,557 patients and reported that Black patients had lower odds of IHT compared to White patients, while Hispanic patient had higher odds of IHT compared with White patients. The authors propose several possible explanations including differences in Black and Hispanic willingness to transfer, impact of insurance status and reimbursement rates, coding inaccuracies, and other complex dynamics for their findings.
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.
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.
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.
Wood LJ, Wiegmann DA. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;32:438-444.
This article discusses the action hierarchy, which is a tool for generating corrective actions to improve safety and focuses on those recommendations relying less on human factors and more on systems change. The authors propose a multifaceted definition of ‘systems change’ and a rubric for determining the extent to which a corrective action addresses ‘systems change’ (‘systems change hierarchy’).
Härkänen M, Turunen H, Vehviläinen-Julkunen K. J Patient Saf. 2020;16.
This study compared medication errors detected using incident reports, the Global Trigger Tool method, and direct observations of patient records. Incident reports and the Global Trigger Tool more commonly identified medication errors likely to cause harm. Omission errors were commonly identified by all three methods, but identification of other errors varied. For example, incident reports most commonly identified wrong dose and wrong time errors. The contributing factors also varied by method, but in general, communication issues and human factors were the most common contributors.
Fortman E, Hettinger AZ, Howe JL, et al. J Am Med Info Assoc. 2020;27:924-928.
Physicians from different health systems using two computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems participated in simulated patient scenarios using eye movement recordings to determine whether the physician looked at patient-identifying information when placing orders. The rate of patient identification overall was 62%, but the rate varied by CPOE system. An expert panel identified three potential reasons for this variation – visual clutter and information density, the number of charts open at any given time, and the importance placed on patient identification verification by institutions.
Plint AC, Stang A, Newton AS, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:216-227.
This article describes emergency department (ED)-related adverse events in pediatric patients presenting to the ED at a pediatric hospital in Canada over a one-year period. Among 1,319 patients at 3-months follow-up, 33 patients (2.5%) reported an adverse event related to their ED care. The majority of these events (88%) were preventable. Most of the events involved diagnostic (45.5%) or management issues (51.5%) and resulted in symptoms lasting more than one day (72.7%).
Isbell LM, Boudreaux ED, Chimowitz H, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:815–825.
Research has suggested that health care providers’ emotions may impact patient safety. These authors conducted 86 semi-structured interviews with emergency department (ED) nurses and physicians to better understand their emotional triggers, beliefs about emotional influences on patient safety, and emotional management strategies. Patients often triggered both positive and negative emotions; hospital- or systems-level factors primarily triggered negative emotions. Providers were aware that negative emotions can adversely impact clinical decision-making and place patients at risk; future research should explore whether emotional regulation strategies can mitigate these safety risks.
Matulis JC, Kok SN, Dankbar EC, et al. Diagnosis. 2020;7:107-114.
A brief survey of two internal medicine practices explored clinician perceptions of individual- and systems-level factors contributing to diagnostic errors. The most commonly reported individual-level factors contributing to diagnostic error was atypical patient presentations (83%), failure to consider other diagnoses (63%) and inadequate follow-up of test results (53%). Common systems-level contributors identified were cognitive burden associated with the electronic health record system (68%), inadequate time (64%) and lack of collaboration (40%).
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. December 27, 2019. Publication No. NOT-HS-20-004.
This announcement highlights AHRQ continued interest in research regarding the development of an evidence base on the incidence of diagnostic error, its presence in a variety of health care environment and its impact on patient outcomes.
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