Powers EM, Shiffman RN, Melnick ER, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2018;25(11):1556-1566.
Although hard-stop alerts can improve safety, they have been shown to result in unintended consequences such as delays in care. This systematic review suggests that while implementing hard stops can lead to improved health and process outcomes, end-user involvement is essential to inform design and appropriate workflow integration.
Clinical reasoning is a complex process that can be influenced by numerous factors. This commentary reviews major factors that affect clinical reasoning such as teamwork, decision-maker characteristics, and environmental conditions. The author suggests that an adaptive rather than linear decision-making approach would support reasoning improvements to reduce diagnostic error.
Yardley I, Yardley S, Williams H, et al. Palliat Med. 2018;32(8):1353-1362.
The frequency and nature of adverse events experienced by patients receiving palliative care remains unknown. In this mixed-methods study, researchers analyzed patient safety incidents among patients receiving palliative care from a national database in England over a 12-year period. They found that pressure ulcers, medication errors, and falls were the most frequently reported types of events and conclude that there is significant opportunity to improve the safety of palliative care.
Ma C, Park SH, Shang J. Int J Nurs Stud. 2018;85:1-6.
Teamwork training interventions enhance both clinical outcomes and safety culture. This cross-sectional survey found hospital units that nurses rated as more collaborative had lower rates of both hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and falls. A PSNet Interview discusses how the nursing work environment affects patient safety.
Cooper J, Williams H, Hibbert P, et al. Bull World Health Organ. 2018;96(7):498-505.
The World Health Organization International Classification for Patient Safety enables measurement of safety incident severity. In this study, researchers describe how they adapted the system to primary care. Their harm severity classification emphasizes psychological harm, hospitalizations, near misses, and uncertain outcomes in addition to traditional markers of harm.
Ramani S, Könings KD, Mann K, et al. Acad Med. 2018;93(9):1348-1358.
Constructive feedback is a pillar of strong safety culture. Through resident and attending physicians focus groups at a single institution, investigators found that cultural emphasis on politeness and excellence hindered all parties' ability to provide honest feedback. The authors advocate for transitioning to a culture of growth, which would shift their institution toward a more just culture.
Ratwani RM, Savage E, Will A, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2018;25(9):1197-1201.
In this simulation study, emergency department physicians completed standardized tasks using actual electronic health records (EHRs) at four sites. Even though two sites used Epic and two used Cerner EHRs, the number of clicks per task, time to task completion, and error rates varied widely. The authors highlight the importance of local implementation decisions as well as design and development in supporting usability and safety of electronic health records.
Ibrahim M; Gyuchan S; Jun GT; Robinson S. Safety Sci. 2018;106:104-120.
This literature review examined the application of system dynamics, a simulation method that incorporates qualitative and quantitative data to characterize and predict how complex systems will perform over time, to patient safety. The authors applied a human factors framework to this literature and identified several influences on safety, including supervision, external factors, and organizational culture. The authors conclude that the field of system dynamics can be applied to health care in order to improve patient safety.
Smith CD, Corbridge S, Dopp AL, et al. NAM Perspectives. Washington DC: National Academy of Medicine; 2018.
Teamwork can contribute to a healthy and respectful work environment. This discussion paper reviews evidence-based characteristics of high-functioning teams and barriers to their optimization in health care. Strategies to enhance teamwork and consequently clinician well-being include improvements in workflow, health information technologies, and financial models to train and sustain teams.
Overdiagnosis has emerged as a quality and safety concern due to its potential to result in financial and emotional harm for patients and their families. This review discusses factors that contribute to overdiagnosis in primary care including financial incentives and innovations in diagnostic technologies. The authors recommend increasing awareness about the negative consequences of unneeded screenings, clarifying the definition of overdiagnosis, and adjusting cultural expectations for testing and treatment as avenues for improvement.
This systematic review identified 25 randomized controlled trials of methods to improve medication reconciliation at the time of hospital discharge, most of which involved a pharmacist-mediated intervention. Overall, there was no clear evidence that medication reconciliation interventions reduced either medication discrepancies or adverse drug events. A previous commentary discussed the challenges in implementing effective medication reconciliation programs in real-world settings.
Lane MA, Newman BM, Taylor MZ, et al. J Patient Saf. 2018;14(3):e56-e60.
The second victim phenomenon refers to the emotional and psychological toll experienced by clinicians who are involved in an adverse event. Peer support has been shown to benefit second victims, especially if initiated promptly after an adverse event. This study describes the implementation and early effects of a second victim peer support program at an academic medical center, which involved training physicians and advanced practice providers as peer supporters. A WebM&M interview with Dr. Albert Wu discussed ways that organizations can support second victims.
Martin HA, Ciurzynski SM. Journal of emergency nursing: JEN : official publication of the Emergency Department Nurses Association. 2015;41(6):484-8.
Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) is a mnemonic used to structure information sharing to avoid communication failures during handoffs. This review examines the challenges and benefits associated with SBAR use and provides a comparative assessment with other standardized communication tools in the field.
Wong A, Plasek JM, Montecalvo SP, et al. Pharmacotherapy. 2018;38(8):822-841.
Natural language processing (NLP) can efficiently analyze large narrative data sets to identify adverse events. Exploring the application of NLP to reduce medication errors, this AHRQ-funded review describes challenges associated with using NLP to extract information from clinical sources and highlights how engaging pharmacists in developing NLP systems can improve medication safety.
Stucke RS, Kelly JL, Mathis KA, et al. JAMA Surg. 2018;153(12):1105-1110.
Many states are implementing prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in an attempt to curb the ongoing opioid epidemic. This single-center study examined the effect of a New Hampshire policy that mandates clinicians use a PDMP and an opioid risk assessment tool prior to prescribing opioids. No impact was found on overall opioid prescribing rates. However, a recent state-level analysis found that states who implemented a PDMP had lower opioid prescribing rates compared to states without PDMPs. A PSNet perspective discussed the factors that contributed to the opioid epidemic and proposed solutions.
Carthon MB, Hatfield L, Plover C, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2019;34:40-46.
This cross-sectional study found that nurses reporting a lower level of engagement also described worse patient safety in their work environment. These concerns were exacerbated when higher patient–nurse staffing ratios were present. The authors suggest that increasing nurse engagement may improve patient safety.
Gates PJ, Meyerson SA, Baysari MT, et al. Pediatrics. 2018;142(3):e20180805.
Pediatric medication errors remain an important focus of safety initiatives. This systematic review examined the extent of preventable patient harm from medication errors for pediatric inpatients. The 22 included studies reported incidence rates ranging from 0 to 74 preventable adverse drug events per 1000 inpatient days. Across all studies, most errors were minor and did not result in patient harm. Use of health information technology was associated with less harm. Emphasizing the challenges of detecting and reporting errors, a related editorial calls for standardizing descriptions of preventable adverse events and harm in pediatrics. A WebM&M commentary addressed the high potential for weight-based medication errors in pediatrics and provided recommendations to help mitigate this risk.
Doctor JN, Nguyen A, Lev R, et al. Science (1979). 2018;361:588-590.
High-risk opioid prescribing by providers contributes to opioid misuse. Prior studies have shown that patients frequently receive opioid prescriptions even if they have a history of overdose. In this randomized trial involving 861 providers prescribing opioids to 170 patients who experienced fatal overdose, providers in the intervention arm were notified about patients' deaths by the county medical examiner while those in the control arm were not. Researchers found that milligram morphine equivalents prescribed to the patients of providers who received the death notifications decreased by almost 10% in the 3-month period following the intervention. There were no significant changes in the prescribing patterns of the control group. An Annual Perspective discussed patient safety and opioid medications.
Recently, several mobile health care applications have been developed and marketed directly to nonclinician consumers. Researchers reviewed the literature regarding direct-to-consumer diagnostic applications. They found wide variation in the safety of these applications and suggest that further research is needed to thoroughly assess their effectiveness.
Simsekler MCE, Ward JR, Clarkson J. Ergonomics. 2018;61(8):1046-1064.
In aviation and other high reliability industries, organizations prioritize proactive risk identification in addition to root cause analysis after safety events occur. Researchers developed a risk identification framework for their health system and tested its feasibility with health care workforce members.
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