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1 - 20 of 88
Hannum SM, Abebe E, Xiao Y, et al. Appl Ergon. 2020;91:103299.
Discharge can be a vulnerable time for patients, particularly older adults taking multiple medications. Through interviews with clinicians from 10 professional roles, researchers identified three key strategies to promote safe medication management at hospital discharge: (1) streamlining medication reconciliation across care settings, (2) building patient capacity and engagement, and (3) redesigning the transitional process. Aligning clinician and patient care transition goals using these three strategies may better prepare patients to safely self-manage their medications at home.   
Brody JE. New York Times. 2020.
Inappropriate care activities can cascade to significantly impact patient safety. This article shares how medication side effects can be misdiagnosed to perpetuate harm in older patients rather than getting to the root of the care concerns. 
Schrade B, Teegardin C. Unprotected: Broken promises in Georgia’s senior care industry. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sept-October 2019.
Assisted living facilities have challenges that reduce the quality and safety of care. This news investigation examines how poor management, staffing shortages, and poor caregiver training were unchecked by systemic failures in correcting problems to protect residents. 
Dinnen T, Williams H, Yardley S, et al. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2019.
Advance care planning (ACP) allows patients to express and document their preferences about medical treatment; however, there are concerns about uptake and documentation due to human error. This study used patient safety incident reports in the UK to characterize and explore safety issues arising from ACP and to identify areas for improvement. Over a ten-year period, there were 70 reports of an ACP-related patient safety incident (due to incomplete documentation, inaccessible documentation or miscommunication, or ACP directives not being followed) which led to inappropriate treatment, transfer or admission. The importance of targeting the human factors of the ACP process to improve safety is discussed. A PSNet Human Factors Primer on human factors expands on these concepts.  
Frakt A. New York Times. August 26, 2019.
The slow adoption of improvement innovations is a persistent challenge to high-quality and safe patient care. This newspaper article raises concerns about how common treatments are recommended despite insufficient evidence regarding their effectiveness and provides examples of how this problem can result in harm, such as the previous physician belief that opioids were not addictive. Reassessment of science can improve safety and reduce the unintended consequences of ineffective treatments.
Whitaker P. New Statesman. August 2, 2019;148:38-43.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced computing technologies can enhance clinical decision-making. Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of artificial intelligence, this news article cautions against the wide deployment of AI until robust evaluation and implementation strategies are in place to enhance system reliability. A recent PSNet perspective discussed emerging safety issues in the use of artificial intelligence.
Shen C, Nguyen M, Gregor A, et al. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;137:690-692.
This study entered 42 validated clinical vignettes for eye diseases into an online symptom checker. As with prior studies, the performance of the online symptom checker in producing the correct diagnosis was suboptimal. The authors suggest that current performance of symptom checkers is not sufficient for timely and accurate diagnosis of ophthalmologic conditions.
Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; April 9, 2019.
Efforts to address the opioid epidemic range from regulation to changes in pain management. This safety announcement raises awareness of potential harms associated with rapidly decreasing the dose of or discontinuing opioids for patients who may be physically dependent on the medication. It also announces a requirement regarding changes to prescribing information for opioids to provide expanded guidance on how to safely taper doses. Health care providers should discuss tapering plans with patients and provide ongoing monitoring and support.
Schulte F; Fry E.
Despite years of investment and government support, electronic health records (EHR) continue to face challenges as a patient safety strategy. This news article outlines the unintended consequences of EHR implementation, including patient harm linked to software glitches and user errors, fraudulent behavior (upcoding), interoperability problems, clinician burnout due to poorly designed digital health records, and lack of industry transparency.
Dickson EJ. Rolling Stone. March 9, 2019.
Unintended consequences of restrictions enacted to combat the opioid crisis are a concern for patients and prescribers. This magazine article reports on an effort to raise awareness of the potential for patient harm due to lack of legitimate access to opioids for chronic pain as a result of the 2016 CDC opioid prescribing guidelines.
Dahm MR, Georgiou A, Herkes R, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2018;5:215-222.
Inadequate test result follow-up places patients at risk of delayed diagnosis, especially in the ambulatory setting. Diverse stakeholders in Australia established an agenda for enhancing test result management, which included better governance, improved use of technology, and consistent patient engagement. A WebM&M commentary explored two incidents where poor test result follow-up led to patient harm.
Mohr H, Weiss M. Associated Press. November 27, 2018.
Usability issues, poor design, and lack of effective instruction hinder safe use of medical equipment. This news article reports on problems associated with ambulatory use of insulin pumps submitted to a Food and Drug Administration database.
MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; November 14, 2018.
This safety announcement raises awareness of pump failures, dosing errors, and other potential safety issues associated with implanted pumps. Recommendations to enhance safety include review of medication labeling to select appropriate medicines and concentrations as well as open discussions with patients about risks associated with pump and medication options.
DeMarco P. Globe Magazine. November 3, 2018.
This magazine article reports on the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack. Written by the patient's husband, the article outlines the failures that led to her death despite the fact that she was at the door of a hospital emergency department and on the phone with an emergency dispatcher. Factors discussed include overreliance on poorly functioning technology, communication failures, and lack of fail-safes.
Gawande A. New Yorker. November 12, 2018.
In this magazine article, Atul Gawande describes a range of frustrations physicians experience as digitization becomes more widespread in health care. He elaborates upon several elements of electronic health record use that can degrade care processes and create conditions for errors, such as burnout, lack of patient-centeredness, and alert fatigue.
Shiffman S, Cotton H, Jessurun C, et al. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2016;56:495-503.e4.
Poor health literacy is associated with the misunderstanding of medication labels, which can lead to adverse drug events. This study sought to assess how adding an acetaminophen icon to the labels of acetaminophen-containing medications affects consumers' ability to avoid unintentional overdose, which is known to cause liver damage. Investigators found that presence of the icon reduced the likelihood of medication errors by 53%, and they concluded that the icon may particularly benefit those with lower health literacy. A past WebM&M commentary discussed a case of liver injury caused by incorrect dosing of acetaminophen.

Landro L. Wall Street Journal. August. 8, 2016.

First-year residents may be reluctant to ask for assistance due to factors such as peer pressure to demonstrate competency. This newspaper article reports on one hospital's strategy to enhance communication among residents and attendings, which encourages residents to ask questions of senior clinicians who are coached to welcome learning conversations.
Simons SR, Stark RB, DeMarco RF. Research in nursing & health. 2011;34:132-40.
Disruptive behaviors are receiving increased attention as a cultural factor that contributes to medical error. Although much of the focus has been on physicians, the presence of bullying among nurses is also a concern. This magazine article explores nurse behaviors such as withholding information, intimidation, and name calling that negatively affect patient safety and nurse retention.