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Georgia Galanou Luchen, Pharm. D., is the Director of Member Relations at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). In this role, she leads initiatives related to community pharmacy practitioners and their impact throughout the care continuum. We spoke with her about different types of community pharmacists and the role they play in ensuring patient safety. 

This piece reviews unique characteristics of community pharmacies that can affect medication safety and spotlights the need for further research examining medication errors in community settings.
The toll of medical errors is often expressed in terms of mortality attributable to patient safety problems. In 2016, there was considerable debate regarding the number of patients who die due to medical errors. This Annual Perspective explores the methodological approaches to estimating mortality attributable to preventable adverse events and discusses the benefits and limitations of existing approaches.
Opioids are known to be high risk medications, and concerns about patient harm from prescription opioid misuse have been increasing in the United States. This Annual Perspective summarizes research published in 2016 that explored the extent of harm from their use, described problematic prescribing practices that likely contribute to adverse events, and demonstrated some promising practices to foster safer opioid use.
Computerized provider order entry is a cornerstone of patient safety efforts, and the increasingly widespread implementation of electronic health records has made it a standard practice in health care. This Annual Perspective summarizes novel findings and research directions in computerized provider order entry in 2015.
Dr. Sarkar is an associate professor of medicine at UCSF whose research has focused on ambulatory patient safety, including missed and delayed diagnosis, adverse drug events, and monitoring failures for outpatients with chronic diseases. We spoke with her about patient safety in the ambulatory setting.
Most patient interactions with the health care system occur in the outpatient setting. Many potential and actual safety problems occur there as well.(1) Yet patient safety literature and practice do not seem to have reached deeply into ambulatory care.
Dean Schillinger, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco, Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, and Chief of the California Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. His role as a practicing clinician at a safety net hospital (San Francisco General Hospital) has put him in a unique position to pursue influential and relevant research related to health literacy and improving care for vulnerable populations.
Clear health communication is increasingly recognized as essential for promoting patient safety. Yet according to a recent Joint Commission report, What Did the Doctor Say? Improving Health Literacy to Protect Patient Safety, communication problems among health care providers, patients, and families are common and a leading root cause of adverse outcomes.
Medication safety in hospitals depends on the successful execution of a complex system of scores of individual tasks that can be categorized into five stages: ordering or prescribing, preparing, dispensing, transcribing, and monitoring the patient's response. Many of these tasks lend themselves to technologic tools. Over the past 20 years, technology has played an increasingly larger role toward achieving the five rights of medication safety: getting the right dose of the right drug to the right patient using the right route and at the right time.
Eric G. Poon, MD, MPH, is Director of Clinical Informatics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Poon’s research has focused on using health information technology to improve patient safety. He oversees the development and implementation of clinical applications including computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and barcode-assisted electronic medication administration record, and was lead author on the first rigorous study demonstrating the impact of a bar coding system in a hospital pharmacy.
Patients have three roles in improving patient safety: helping to ensure their own safety, working with health care organizations to improve safety at the organization and unit level, and advocating as citizens for public reporting and accountability of hospital and health system performance. The following case illustrates how patients can help ensure their own safety.
Allan Frankel, MD, is Director of Patient Safety for Partners HealthCare, the merged entity of Harvard hospitals and clinics that includes Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Frankel, an anesthesiologist by training, has been a key member of the faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, co-chairing numerous Adverse Drug Events and Patient Safety Collaboratives. Dr. Frankel's work in patient safety focuses on leadership training, high reliability in health care, teamwork development, and cultural change. We asked Dr.
Dr. Jones was sure he had increased Mr. H's cholesterol-lowering medication to 80 mg 6 months ago, but, at his visit today, his pill bottle still says 40 mg. In reviewing Ms. B's chart in preparation for performing a well-woman examination, Dr. Smith find...
Dr. Cohen is President of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a nonprofit organization that operates the voluntary and confidential ISMP Medication Errors Reporting Program. He is also coeditor of the ISMP consumer website, chairperson of the International Medication Safety Network, and a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration. We spoke with him about patient safety in the community pharmacy, including challenges associated with production pressures and the importance of reporting concerns.