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Galatzan BJ, Carrington JM. Res Nurs Health. 2021;44:833-843.
During handoffs, nurses are exposed to a variety of interruptions and distractions which may lead to cognitive overload. Using natural language processing, researchers analyzed ten audio-recorded change of shift handoffs to estimate the cognitive load experienced by nurses. Nurses’ use of concise language has the potential to decrease cognitive overload and improve patient outcomes.
Burden AR, Potestio C, Pukenas E. Adv Anesth. 2021;39:133-148.
Handoffs occur several times during a perioperative encounter, increasing the risk of communication errors. Structured handoffs, such as situation-background-assessment-recommendation (SBAR) and checklists, have been shown to improve communication between providers during anesthesia care. The authors discuss how these tools and other processes can improve shared understanding of effective handoffs.
Lafferty M, Harrod M, Krein SL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:28(12).
Use of one-way communication technologies, such as pagers, in hospitals have led to workarounds to improve communication. Through observation, shadowing, interviews, and focus groups with nurses and physicians, this study describes antecedents, types, and effects of workarounds and their potential impact on patient safety.

London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; 2021. ISBN 9781528627016. 

Lack of appropriate follow up of diagnostic imaging can result in care delays, patient harm, and death. This report summarizes an investigation of 25 imaging failures in the British National Health Service (NHS). The analysis identified communication and coordination issues resulting in lack of action and reporting of unanticipated findings to properly advance care. Recommendations to improve imaging in the NHS include use of previous analyses to enhance learning from failure.
Chladek MS, Doughty C, Patel B, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001254.
The I-PASS handoff bundle has been successful at improving patient safety during handoffs in the hospital. A pediatric emergency department implemented the I-PASS bundle to improve handoffs between medical residents. Results showed a 53% decrease in omissions of crucial information and residents perceived improvement in patient safety.
von Vogelsang A‐C, Göransson KE, Falk A‐C, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29:2343-2352.
Incomplete nursing care can be detrimental to care quality and patient safety. This cross-sectional survey of nurses in Sweden at one acute care hospital did not identify significant differences in missed nursing care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors posit that these results may be attributed to maintaining nurse-patient ratios, sufficient nursing skill mix, and patient mix.
Werner NE, Rutkowski RA, Krause S, et al. Appl Ergon. 2021;96:103509.
Shared mental models contribute to effective team collaboration and communication. Based on interviews and thematic analysis, the authors explored mental models between the emergency department (ED) and skilled nursing facility (SNF). The authors found that these healthcare professionals had misaligned mental models regarding communication during care transitions and healthcare setting capability, and that these misalignments led to consequences for patients, professionals, and the organization.
Abraham J, Meng A, Sona C, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2021;151:104458.
Standardized handoff protocols from the operating room to the intensive care unit have improved patient safety, but clinician compliance and long-term sustainability remain poor. This study identified four phases of post-operative handoff associated with risk factors: pre-transfer preparation, transfer and set up, report preparation and delivery, and post-transfer care. The authors recommend “flexibly standardized” handoff intervention tools for safe transfer from operating room to intensive care.
Walters GK. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e264-e267.
The majority of preventable adverse events are multifactorial in nature and are a result of system failures. Using a case study, the authors outline a series of errors following misplacement of a PICC line. Failures include differences in recording electronic health record notes and communication between providers. Investigations of all adverse events will help identify and correct system failures to improve patient safety.

Cleghorn E. New York, NY: Dutton; 2021. ISBN: 9780593182956.

Women have been affected by implicit bias that undermines the safety of their care and trust in the medical system. This book shares the history anchoring the mindsets driving ineffective care for women and a discussion of the author’s long-term lupus misdiagnosis.
Carman E-M, Fray M, Waterson P. Appl Ergon. 2021;93:103339.
This study analyzed incident reports, discharge planning meetings, and focus groups with hospital and community healthcare staff to identify barriers and facilitators to safe transitions from hospital to community. Barriers included discharge tasks not being complete, missing or inaccurate information, and limited staff capacity. Facilitators include  improved staff capacity and good communication between hospital staff, community healthcare staff, and family members. The authors recommend that hospital and community healthcare staff perspectives be taken into account when designing safe discharge policies.

The Patient Safe-D(ischarge) program used standardized tools to educate patients about their discharge needs, test understanding of those needs, and improve medication reconciliation at admission and discharge. A quasi-randomized controlled trial of the program found that it significantly increased patients' understanding and knowledge of their diagnoses, treatment, and required follow-up care.

Manias E, Bucknall T, Woodward-Kron R, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18:3925.
Interprofessional communication is critical to safe medication management during transitions of care. Researchers conducted this ethnographic study to explore inter- and intra-professional communications during older adults’ transitions of care. Communication was influenced by the transferring setting, receiving setting, and ‘real-time’ communication. Lack of, or poor, communication impacted medication safety; researchers recommend more proactive communication and involvement of the pharmacist.
Scantlebury A, Sheard L, Fedell C, et al. Digit Health. 2021;7:205520762110100.
Electronic health record (EHR) downtime can disrupt patient care and increase risk for medical errors. Semi-structured interviews with healthcare staff and leadership at one large hospital in England illustrate the negative consequences of a three-week downtime of an electronic pathology system on patient experience and safety. The authors propose recommendations for hospitals to consider when preparing for potential technology downtimes.

Medscape Medical News. May 12, 2021.

Delays and mistakes in health care for distinct patient populations hold improvement lessons for the broader system. This news story highlights problems in correctional system cancer diagnoses and treatment that may indicate other types of prison care delivery problems.
Longhini J, Papastavrou E, Efstathiou G, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29:572-583.
This international qualitative study explored strategies employed by nurse managers and directors to prevent missed nursing care. Most strategies, including staffing ratios, communication, and empowering nurse leaders, required complex interventions at the system level, indicating missed nursing care is not merely a nursing issue. Nurse managers play a key role in implementing strategies at the nursing and hospital level.
Lurvey LD, Fassett MJ, Kanter MH. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:288-295.
High reliability organizations encourage staff to self-report errors and hazards for comprehensive review and improvement. Three hospitals in one health system implemented a voluntary error reporting system for clinicians to report their own and others’ clinical errors. Although only 5% of reported errors were physician self-reports, there were still benefits: it captured novel errors, provided a safe space to report those errors, and encouraged secondary insights into causes of the errors.
Shahian DM. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:769-774.
The I-PASS structured handoff tool aims to improve communication during patient transfers and reduce errors and preventable adverse events. This editorial summarizes evidence supporting I-PASS implementation and the challenge of rigorously assessing the association between handoffs and adverse events, medical errors, and other clinical outcomes.