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Blume KS, Dietermann K, Kirchner‐Heklau U, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;56:885-907.
Nurse staffing levels have been shown to impact patient outcomes. Through an umbrella literature review and expert interviews, researchers developed a list of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes (NSPO). This list provides researchers potential avenues for future studies examining the link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes.
Dave N, Bui S, Morgan C, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:297-307.
This systematic review provides an update to McDonald et al’s 2013 review of strategies to reduce diagnostic error.  Technique (e.g., changes in equipment) and technology-based (e.g. trigger tools) interventions were the most studied intervention types. Future research on educational and personnel changes would be useful to determine the value of these types of interventions.
Alshehri GH, Ashcroft DM, Nguyen J, et al. Drug Saf. 2021;44:877-888.
Adverse drug events (ADE) can occur in any healthcare setting. Using retrospective record review from three mental health hospitals, clinical pharmacists confirmed that ADEs were common, and that nearly one-fifth of those were considered preventable.
Bulliard J‐L, Beau A‐B, Njor S, et al. Int J Cancer. 2021;149:846-853.
Overdiagnosis of breast cancer and the resulting overtreatment can cause physical, emotional, and financial harm to patients. Analysis of observational data and modelling indicates overdiagnosis accounts for less than 10% of invasive breast cancer in patients aged 50-69. Understanding rates of overdiagnosis can assist in ascertaining the net benefit of breast cancer screening.
van der Kooi T, Lepape A, Astagneau P, et al. Euro Surveill. 2021;26.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) contribute to patient morbidity and mortality every year. Three mortality review measures were developed to measure the potential contribution of HAIs to patient death. All three measures showed acceptable feasibility, validity, and reproducibility in HAI surveillance.
Marang-van de Mheen PJ, Vincent CA. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:525-528.
Research has shown that patients admitted to the hospital on the weekend may experience worse outcomes compared to those admitted on weekdays (the ‘weekend effect’). This editorial highlights the challenges to empirically evaluate the underlying mechanisms contributing to the weekend effect. The authors propose viewing the weekend effect as a proxy for staffing levels and the influence of other factors influencing outcomes for patients admitted on weekends, such as patient acuity, clinician skill-mix and access to diagnostic tests or other ancillary services.
Shafiee Hanjani L, Hubbard RE, Freeman CR, et al. Intern Med J. 2021;51:520-532.
Cognitively impaired older adults living in residential aged care facilities (RACF) are at risk of adverse drug events related to potentially inappropriate polypharmacy. Based on telehealth visits with 720 RACF residents, 66% were receiving polypharmacy, with cognitively intact residents receiving significantly more medications than cognitively impaired residents. Overall, 82% of residents were receiving anti-cholinergic medications which should be avoided in this population. Future interventions and research should pay particular attention to the prescribing of these medications.
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.
Rosen IEW, Shiekh RM, Mchome B, et al. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2021;100:704-714.
Improving maternal safety is an ongoing patient safety priority. This systematic review concluded that maternal near miss events are negatively associated with various aspects of quality of life. Women exposed to maternal near miss events were more likely to have overall lower quality of life, poorer mental and social health, and suffer negative economic consequences.
Farhat A, Al‐Hajje A, Csajka C, et al. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2021;46:877-886.
Several tools have been developed to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing. This study explored the economic and clinical impacts of two tools, STOPP/START and FORTA (Fit fOR The Aged list). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using those tools demonstrated significant clinical and economic impact in geriatric and internal medicine. Due to the low number of RCT studies evaluating these tools, additional studies are warranted.
Lippke S, Derksen C, Keller FM, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18:2616.
Communication is an essential component of safe patient care. This review of 71 studies found that communication training interventions in obstetrics can improve communication skills and behavior, particularly when combined with team training. The authors identified a lack of evidence regarding the effect of communication trainings on patient safety outcomes and suggest that future research should assess this relationship. Study findings underscore the need for adequate communication trainings to be provided to all staff and expectant mothers and their partners.
Vasey B, Ursprung S, Beddoe B, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4:e211276.
This study explored the role of machine-learning based clinical decision support (CDS) algorithms to support (rather than replace) human decision-making and the impact on diagnostic performance. This systematic review of 37 studies found limited evidence that the use of machine learning-based CDS systems contributes to improved diagnostic performance among clinicians. Interobserver agreement, user feedback, and clinician override were the most commonly reported outcomes. The authors emphasize the importance of further evaluation of human-computer interaction.
Zheng WY, Lichtner V, Van Dort BA, et al. Res Soc Admin Pharm. 2021;17:832-841.
This systematic review sought to determine the impact of automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs), barcode medication administration (BCMA), and closed-loop electronic medication management systems (EMMS) used by hospitals in reducing controlled substance medication errors in hospitals. Overall, only 4 studies (out of 16) focused directly on controlled medications. A variety of types of errors (e.g., log-in, data, entry, override) compromised patient safety. High-quality targeted research is urgently needed to evaluate the risks and benefits of medication-related technology.

Preckel B, ed. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2021;35(1):1-154.

The field of anesthesiology has realized impressive improvements in safety, yet challenges still exist in its practice. This special issue provides discussions on a variety of concerns that require continued effort, including use of early warning scores, differences associated with sex and gender, and use of incident reporting systems.
Fridrich A, Imhof A, Schwappach DLB. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:217-222.
Checklists are used across clinical areas. Following the publication of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist in 2009, other organizations developed their own checklists or adapted the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist for local settings. The authors analyzed 24 checklists used in 18 Swiss hospitals, identified major differences between study checklists and reference checklists and provided recommendations for future research regarding the effectiveness of surgical safety checklists. 

Jørgensen IF, Brunak S. NPJ Digital Med. 2021;4(1):12.

Overdiagnosis is a growing area of concern within patient safety. The authors present a generalizable approach for identifying patients at risk of being mis- or overdiagnosed. Using chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients as an example, the authors outline how to create significant, temporal disease trajectories, and compare similarities between these disease trajectories and individual patient disease histories to identify the cases that may signal overdiagnosis.
Connolly W, Li B, Conroy RM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;17:141-148.
Since the release of To Err is Human, health systems have undertaken a multitude of patient safety initiatives to reduce adverse events. Findings from this systematic review demonstrate minimal reduction in overall risk of adverse event rates that can be attributed to implementation of large-scale patient safety initiatives (e.g. Global Trigger tool in inpatient and geriatric settings). The meta-analysis of included studies estimated one adverse event prevented for every 59 hospital admissions. The authors note a need for more research (particularly large-scale implementation studies) to establish the effectiveness of such initiatives.
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.
Decormeille G, Maurer-Maouchi V, Mercier G, et al. Crit Care Med. 2021;49:e20-e30.
Common nursing procedures, such as bathing patients in their beds, can result in physiologic changes or accidental displacement of medical devices that may be dangerous to the patient. This study of 254 intensive care patients across Western Europe found that serious adverse events occurred in half of patients during bed bathing.
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.