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Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Medication Safety Alerts. January 3, 2022.

Emerging care practices can produce unsafe situations due to the newness of the approaches involved. This alert highlights safety considerations with an oral antiretroviral COVID treatment that include medication administration problems. Safety recommendations are provided for prescribers and pharmacists.

JAMA. 2021-2022. 

Diagnostic excellence achievement is becoming a primary focus in health care. This article series covers diagnosis as it relates to the Institute of Medicine quality domains, clinical challenges, and priorities for improvement across the system.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Stratification Tool for Opioid Risk Mitigation (STORM) decision support system and targeted prevention program were designed to help mitigate risk factors for overdose and suicide among veterans who are prescribed opioids and/or with opioid use disorder (OUD) and are served by the VHA.1 Veterans, particularly those prescribed opioids, experience overdose and suicide events at roughly twice the rate of the general population.1,2

The STORM decision support system uses data extracted from VHA electronic medical records and predictive analytics to facilitate the identification of patients at high risk of experiencing overdose and suicide events. The STORM decision support system can also review risk factors for patients who are being considered for prescription opioid therapy. STORM prioritizes patients for monitoring and intervention according to their modeled risk and aids clinicians by displaying a patient’s risk factors and associated evidence-based risk mitigation interventions. Note that the target population does not include patients with OUD in medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Many patients with OUD and/or in prescription opioid therapy have complex medical and psychosocial needs (e.g., painful conditions, mental health challenges), resulting in interactions with multiple care providers. To address the complexity of a patient’s case, STORM aims to provide a holistic intervention that includes multiple care providers and accounts for multiple parts of the patient’s history and medical profile.3 Under the STORM-based targeted prevention program, an interdisciplinary team of clinicians, including those with expertise in pain and behavioral health, conduct case reviews for patients identified to be at the highest risk of overdose and/or suicide and implement treatment changes or share recommendations with the patients‘ providers.

The VHA completed a three-year randomized program evaluation of the implementation of the national STORM-based targeted prevention program. Preliminary results indicate that mandating that very high-risk patients receive an interdisciplinary review was associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality among identified patients in the 127 days after identification by the decision support system.4

The STORM decision support system and targeted prevention program were developed and implemented in the context of relatively high rates of opioid prescribing to veterans and overall rising opioid-involved overdose mortality in the U.S. population. In the last 10 years, overdose deaths have more than doubled in the United States.5 As one response to the problem, the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act requires the VHA to improve opioid therapy strategies and to ensure responsible prescribing practices. STORM is one of several VHA overdose prevention initiatives that include the distribution of naloxone, efforts to reduce opioid prescribing, and introduction of pain management clinical review and support teams.5

An 18-year-old man with a history of untreated depression and suicide attempts (but no history of psychiatric hospitalizations) was seen in the ED for suicidal ideation after recent gun purchase. Due to suicidal ideation, he was placed on safety hold and a psychiatric consultation was requested. The psychiatry team recommended discharge with outpatient therapy; he was discharged with outpatient resources, the crisis hotline phone number, and strict return precautions.

A 52-year-old woman presented for a lumpectomy with lymphoscintigraphy and sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) after being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DICS). On the day of surgery, the patient was met in the pre-operative unit by several different providers (pre-operative nurse, resident physician, attending physician, and anethesiology team) to help prepare her for the procedure. In the OR, the surgical team performed two separate time-outs while the patient was being prepped, placed under general anesthesia, and draped.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement. April 6 - June 15, 2022.
Burnout among health care workers negatively affects system improvement. This webinar series will highlight strategies to establish a healthy work environment that strengthens teamwork, staff engagement, and resilience. Instructors include Dr. Donald Berwick and Derek Feeley.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement. March 15 - April 26, 2022.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a widely recognized retrospective strategy for learning from failure that is challenging to implement. This series of webinars will feature an innovative approach to RCA that expands on the concept to facilitate its use in incident investigations. Instructors for the series will include Dr. Terry Fairbanks and Dr. Tejal K. Gandhi.
Institute for Healthcare Improvement and British Medical Journal. March 30 - April 1 2022, Gothenburg, Sweden.
This onsite conference offers an introduction to quality and safety improvement success and challenges drawing from international experiences. Course activities designed for a multidisciplinary audience supporting the theme of "Creating tomorrow today: how does quality improvement shape the “new normal” " will cover topics such as healthcare inequality, safety culture, and patient partnerships. 
Institute for Healthcare Improvement. March 17-23, 2022, Boston, MA.
Organization executives influence the success of patient safety improvement. This onsite workshop will highlight how leaders can use assessments, planning, and evidence to improve the safety culture at their organizations.
Institute for Safe Medication Practices. January 27-28, 2022.
This virtual workshop will explore tactics to ensure medication safety, including strategic planning, risk assessment, and Just Culture principles.
AHA Training. March 6-7, 2021. Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, IL.
This education program will present group-focused opportunities for participants to learn how to apply Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research TeamSTEPPS 2.0 curriculum methods to develop staff training and improve team communication in their organizations.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
In this annual publication, AHRQ reviews the results of the National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report. This 2021 report highlights that a wide range of quality measures have shown improvement in quality, access, and cost.
Organization: American College of Surgeons (ACS)
Event Description: The self-paced, online course is intended for anyone working in a health care setting who is still learning the foundations of quality improvement, regardless of their role. It includes six modules: Introduction to Quality Improvement The Quality Improvement Process Data Measurement and Analysis Change Management Patient Safety Leadership and Teamwork for QI
Event Location: Online
Date: On Demand
Event Fee: Fee Associated
CE or CME Offered? Yes
Organization: American Association for Critical-Care Nurses (AACCN)
Event Description: Three day in-person and virtual conference offering continuing education credits, over 200 sessions, and networking opportunities for acute and critical care nurses. Patient Safety is one of the professional practice topics that will be covered at conference sessions.
Event Location: In-person: Houston, TX and Online
Date: In person: May 16-18, 2022 and Virtual: June 6-8, 2022
Event Fee: Fee Associated
CE or CME Offered? Yes
Fontil V, Pacca L, Bellows BK, et al. JAMA Cardiol. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Racial and ethnic inequities are increasingly being linked to health disparities. This study of more than 16,000 patients explored the association between race and ethnicity and blood pressure control. Findings suggest racial and ethnic inequities in treatment intensification may be associated with more than 20% of observed racial or ethnic disparities in blood pressure control.
Wallis CJD, Jerath A, Coburn N, et al. JAMA Surg. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Gender, racial, and ethnic disparities in healthcare can adversely impact patient safety and lead to poor outcomes. This retrospective study examined surgeon-patient sex discordance and perioperative outcomes among adult patients in Ontario, Canada, undergoing common elective or emergent surgical procedures from 2007 to 2019. Among 1.3 million patients, sex discordance between surgeon and patient was associated with a significant increased likelihood of adverse perioperative outcomes, including death. Subgroup analyses indicate that this relationship is driven by worse outcomes among female patients treated by male surgeons.