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Bennion J, Mansell SK. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2021;82(8):1-8.
Many strategies have been developed to improve recognition of, and response, to clinically deteriorating patients. This review found that simulation-based educational strategies was the most effective educational method for training staff to recognize unwell patients. However, the quality of evidence was low and additional research into simulation-based education is needed.
Flowerdew L, Tipping M. Emerg Med J. 2021;38(10):769-775.
This study sought to validate an emergency department (ED) safety questionnaire developed in the United States, and adapted for use in the UK. The survey was validated by 33 patient safety leads and used in a multi-center survey. Analysis highlighted risks and positive factors (e.g., positive safety culture) present in surveyed EDs.
Härkänen M, Haatainen K, Vehviläinen-Julkunen K, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(17):9206.
Building on previous research on the use of text mining related to medication administration error incidents, researchers in this study found that artificial intelligence can be used to accurately classify the free text of medication incident reports causing serious or moderate harm, to identify target risk management areas.
Klasen JM, Teunissen PW, Driessen EW, et al. Med Teach. 2021;Epub Oct 13.
Previous research has found that error permission (allowing errors to arise naturally and not preventing them) is a common strategy used in clinical training. This qualitative study with supervising physicians found that decisions to allow residents to fail are often made in the moment and are influenced by the patient, supervisor, trainee, and environmental factors.
Townsend T, Cerdá M, Bohnert AS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40(11):1766-1775.
Misuse of prescription opioids represents a serious patient safety issue. Using commercial claims from 2014 - 2018, researchers examined the association between the 2016 CDC guidelines to reduce unsafe opioid prescribing and opioid dispensing for patients with four common chronic pain diagnoses. Findings indicate that the release of the 2016 guidelines was associated with reductions in the percentage of patients receiving opioids, average dose prescribed, percentage receiving high-dose prescriptions, number of days supplied, and the percentage of patients receiving concurrent opioid/benzodiazepine prescriptions. The authors observe that questions remain about how clinicians are tailoring opioid reductions using a patient-centered approach.
O’Connor P, O’Malley R, Lambe KA, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33(4):mzab138.
Patient safety incidents occurring in prehospital care settings are gaining increasing attention. This systematic review including both peer-reviewed studies and grey literature found that the incidence rate of prehospital patient safety incidents is similar to hospital rates. The authors identified an average of 5.9 patient safety incidents per 100 records/transports/patients occurring in prehospital care; approximately 15% of these incidents resulted in patient harm. The authors discuss methodological challenges to preshopital care research and make recommendations for future studies.
Meyer AND, Giardina TD, Khawaja L, et al. Patient Educ Couns. 2021;104(11):2606-2615.
Diagnostic uncertainty can lead to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. This article provides an overview of the literature on diagnosis-related uncertainty, where uncertainty occurs in the diagnostic process and outlines recommendations for managing diagnostic uncertainty.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Special Emphasis Notice. October 28, 2021 Publication No. NOT-HS-22-004.

Digital information tools are increasingly relied upon to assist in care communication and decision support, yet their safety hasn’t been fully examined. This announcement highlights AHRQ interest in funding research on the safe use of digital information solutions with a focus on program implementation, system design, and usability.
Bernstein SL, Kelechi TJ, Catchpole K, et al. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2021;18(6):352-360.
Failure to rescue, the delayed or missed recognition of a potentially fatal complication that results in the patient’s death, is particularly tragic in obstetric care. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework, the authors describe the work system, process, and outcomes related to failure to rescue, and develop intervention theories.
Blume KS, Dietermann K, Kirchner‐Heklau U, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;56(5):885-907.
Nurse staffing levels have been shown to impact patient outcomes. Through an umbrella literature review and expert interviews, researchers developed a list of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes (NSPO). This list provides researchers potential avenues for future studies examining the link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes.
Svensson J. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Aug 5.
Safety and quality of care for psychiatric patients is a relatively understudied area of patient safety research. This scoping review explores patient safety strategies used in psychiatry. The review identified seven key strategies that rely on staff performance, competence, and compliance – (1) risk management, (2) healthcare practitioners, (3) patient observation, (4) patient involvement, (5) computerized methods, (6) admission and discharge, and (7) security. These strategies primarily target reductions in suicide, self-harm, violence, and falls.
O’Dowd E, Lydon S, Lambe KA, et al. Fam Pract. 2021;Epub Sep 20.
Patient complaints can identify opportunities for patient safety improvement. This study explored whether an existing tool for measuring the severity of patient complaints – the Healthcare Complaints Analysis Tool – can effectively analyze complaints specific to general practice. Key issues identified by the study involved relationships (e.g., communication, patient rights) as well as clinical and management issues.
Rosenthal CM, Parker DM, Thompson LA. JAMA Pediatr. 2021;Epub Oct 19.
The care of child abuse victims is affected by resource, racial and infrastructure challenges. This commentary describes how the systemic weaknesses catalyzed by poor data collection approaches contribute to misdiagnosis and suggests that successes be mined to minimize the proliferation of continued disparities in this patient population.
Schiff G, Shojania KG. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31(2):148-152.
This commentary discusses Dr. Lucian Leape’s new book and highlights the ongoing challenges to sustained quantifiable progress to improving patient safety, including misguided metrics, equipment design issues, persistence of fear and blame culture, burnout and shortages of nurses, primary care and other essential workers.
Bjørn B, Anhøj J, Østergaard M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(1):e593-e598.
Trigger tools are used as signals to detect potential adverse events. Using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Global Trigger Tool (GTT), one patient safety review team was unable to reproduce harm rates in a test-retest reliability study, suggesting the GTT may not be a reliable measure of harm over time. The team recommends additional test-retest studies in other hospitals.
Brühwiler LD, Niederhauser A, Fischer S, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11(10):e054364.
Polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medications continue to pose health risks in older adults. Using a Delphi approach, experts identified 85 minimal requirements for safe medication prescribing in nursing homes. The five key topics recommend structured, regular review and monitoring, interprofessional collaboration, and involving the resident.
Shea T, De Cieri H, Vu T, et al. Safety Sci. 2021;143:105413.
Assessing safety climate is critical to understanding how organizational efforts can improve safety. This review identified deficiencies and inconsistencies in the way that safety climate has been conceptualized and measured. The authors underscore the importance of a consistent approach to measuring safety climate in order to evaluate its impact on patient safety outcomes.
Pinnock R, Ritchie D, Gallagher S, et al. Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2021;26(3):785-809.
Cognition is a recognized human factor that can contribute to medical error. This systematic review explored whether mindful practice can improve diagnosis in healthcare. Of the 33 included studies, the majority were non-empirical; however, the authors tentatively conclude that mindful practice may be a promising method to improve diagnostic accuracy and reduce error.

Graber ML, Schrandt S. Evanston, IL:  Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine;  September 8, 2021. 

This report summarizes the results of a project that examined how the literature and various stakeholders consider challenges and opportunities for improving diagnosis during telemedicine interactions. Both areas of concern and potential were highlighted to engage researchers, educators, and clinicians in the implementation and use of telediagnosis that is safe and of high-value for patients and families.

Bajaj K, de Roche A, Goffman D. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 20(21)-0040-6-EF.

Maternal safety is threatened by systemic biases, care complexities, and diagnostic issues. This issue brief explores the role of diagnostic error in maternal morbidity and mortality, the preventability of common problems such as maternal hemorrhage, and the importance of multidisciplinary efforts to realize improvement. The brief focuses on events occurring during childbirth and up to a week postpartum.