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Burrus S, Hall M, Tooley E, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2020030346.
Based on analysis of four years of data submitted to the Child Health Patient Safety Organization (CHILDPSO), researchers sought to identify types of serious safety events and contributing factors. Three main groups of serious safety events were identified: patient care management, procedural errors, and product or device errors. Contributing factors included lack of situational awareness, process failures, and failure to communicate effectively.
Urquhart A, Yardley S, Thomas E, et al. J R Soc Med. 2021;114:563-574.
This mixed-methods study analyzed patient safety incident reports between 2005-2015 to characterize the most frequently reported incidents resulting in severe harm or death in acute medical units. Of the 377 included reports, diagnostic errors, medication-related errors, and failure to monitor patient incidents were most common. Patients were at highest risk during handoffs and transitions of care. Lack of active decision-making during admission and communication failures were the most common contributors to incidents.

James Augustine, MD, is the National Director of Prehospital Strategy at US Acute Care Solutions where he provides service as a Fire EMS Medical Director. We spoke with him about threats and concerns for patient safety for EMS when responding to a 911 call.

Oberlander T, Scholle SH, Marsteller JA, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2021;43:324-339.
The goal of the patient centered medical home (PCMH)  model is to reorganize primary care to provide team-based, coordinated, accessible health care. This study used a consensus process with input from a physician panel to examine ambulatory patient safety concerns (e.g., medication safety, diagnostic error, treatment delays, communication or coordination errors) in the context of the PCMH model and explore variability in the implementation of patient safety practices.

Lazris A, Roth AR, Haskell H, et al. Am Fam Physician. 2021;103(12):757-759.  

Communication failures are primary threat to safe care. This commentary shares insights on communication problems that contributed to unsafe medication prescribing from both a clinicians and a patient/family perspective.
Bates DW, Levine DM, Syrowatka A, et al. NPJ Digit Med. 2021;4:54.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used across healthcare settings to address a variety of patient safety targets. This scoping review evaluated the potential of AI to improve patient safety across eight domains including adverse drug events, decompensation, and diagnostic errors. Both traditional (e.g. EHR) and novel (e.g. wearables) data sources can be used to develop models and interventions to improve patient safety.

Boodman SG. Washington Post. January 23, 2021.

Misdiagnosis can perpetuate over a long period and delay a correct course of treatment. This news feature shares an example of depression misdiagnosis that masked the true problem of a neurological tumor manifesting in what was seen and treated as a psychological condition. 
Avery AJ, Sheehan C, Bell B, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:961-976.
Patient safety in primary care is an emerging focus for research and policy. The authors of this study retrospectively reviewed case notes from 14,407 primary care patients in the United Kingdom. Their analysis identified three primary types of avoidable harm in primary care – problems with diagnoses, medication-related problems, and delayed referrals. The authors suggest several methods to reduce avoidable harm in primary care, including optimizing existing information technology, enhanced team communication and coordination, and greater continuity of care.

A 60-year-old male presented to the emergency department (ED) with his partner after an episode of dizziness and syncope when exercising. An electrocardiogram demonstrated non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction abnormalities. A brain CT scan was ordered but the images were not assessed prior to initiation of anticoagulation treatment. While awaiting further testing, the patient’s heart rate slowed and a full-body CT scan demonstrated an intracranial hemorrhage. An emergent craniotomy was performed and the patient later died.

Lai AY. J Am Board Fam Med. 2020;33:754-764.
This study used qualitative methods to compare how patients versus front clinicians, administrators and staff conceptualize patient safety in primary care. Findings indicate that work function-based conceptualizations of patient safety (e.g., good communication and providing appropriate, timely care) better reflect the experiences of healthcare personnel and patients rather than domain-based conceptualizations (e.g., diagnosis, care transitions, and medications).
Sharma AE, Yang J, Del Rosario JB, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:5-14.
Ambulatory care settings are receiving increased attention as a focus for patient safety improvements. Using data from a multistate patient safety organization (PSO) database, the researchers sought to characterize patterns and characteristics of patient safety incidents reported in ambulatory care settings. Analyses found that 5.9% of events resulted in severe harm and 1.9% resulted in patient death. Over half of the events were from outpatient subspecialty care; fewer events occurred in home/community (5.2%), primary care (2.1%), or dialysis (2.0%) settings. Medication-related events were most common, followed by clinical deterioration and falls. Predictors of higher harm included diagnostic errors, patient/caregiver challenges, and events occurring in home/community or psychiatric settings. These results can help ambulatory care settings target safety events and develop systems-level prevention strategies.  

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Organizations worldwide are focusing efforts on reducing the conditions that contribute to medical error. This website provides a collection of reports and other resources that cover activities and concerns of the 37 member countries active in the organization to address universal challenges to patient safety.

Levett-Jones T, ed. Clin Sim Nurs. 2020;44(1):1-78; 2020;45(1):1-60.

Simulation is a recognized technique to educate and plan to improve care processes and safety. This pair of special issues highlights the use of simulation in nursing and its value in work such as communication enhancement, minority population care, and patient deterioration.   
Ann D. Gaffey, RN, MSN, CPHRM, DFASHRM is the President of Healthcare Risk and Safety Strategies, LLC. Bruce Spurlock, MD is the President and CEO of Cynosure Health. We spoke with them about their role in the development of the Making Healthcare Safer III Report and what new information they think audiences will find particularly useful and interesting.

Holmes A, Long A, Wyant B, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2020. AHRQ Publication No. 20-0029-EF.

This newly issued follow up to the seminal AHRQ Making Health Care Safer report (first published in 2001 and updated in 2013 critically examines the evidence supporting 47 separate patient safety practices chosen for the high-impact harms they address. It includes diagnostic errors, failure to rescue, sepsis, infections due to multi-drug resistant organisms, adverse drug events and nursing-sensitive conditions. The report discusses the evidence on cross-cutting safety practices, including safety culture, teamwork and team training, clinical decision support, patient and family engagement, cultural competency, staff education and training, and monitoring, audit and feedback. The report provides recommendations for clinicians and decision-makers on effective patient safety practices.
Fernholm R, Holzmann MJ, Wachtler C, et al. BMC Fam Pract. 2020;21.
Much of the evidence about preventable harm in patients with psychiatric illnesses is limited to inpatient psychiatric facilities. This case-control study explores patient-related factors that place patients at an increased risk for patient safety incidents in primary or emergency care. While differences in income, education, and foreign background had some association with preventable harm, researchers found that psychiatric illness nearly doubled the risk of preventable harm among both emergency and primary care patients, with nearly half (46%) of harm attributable to diagnostic errors.