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Lin MP, Vargas-Torres C, Shin-Kim J, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2022;53:135-139.
Drug shortages can result in patient harm, such as dosing errors from a medication substitution. In this study, 28 of the 30 most frequently used medications in the emergency department experienced shortages between 2006 and 2019. The most common reasons for shortages were manufacturing delays and increased demand. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing drug shortages.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2022. ISBN: 9780309686259

Nursing homes face significant patient safety challenges, and these challenges became more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report identifies key issues in the delivery of care for nursing home residents and provides recommendations to strengthen the quality and safety of care delivery, such as improved working conditions, enhanced minimum staffing standards, improving quality measurement, and strengthening emergency preparedness.

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79(7): 564-599.

Pharmacists have a central role in ensuring medication safety during healthcare delivery. This report outlines standards for the delivery of safe, high-quality pharmacy services including how pharmacy departments should be placed within the health system and how health system processes can support safe medication use and pharmacy practice.
McGinty EE, Bicket MC, Seewald NJ, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2022;175:617-627.
Prior research has found that unsafe opioid prescribing practices are common. This retrospective study explored the association between state opioid prescribing laws and trends in opioid and nonopioid pain treatment among commercially insured adults in the United States. Findings suggest that these laws were not associated with statistically significant changes in prescribing outcomes, but the authors note that some of these estimates were imprecise and may not be generalizable to non-commercially insured populations.

Washington, DC: VA Office of Inspector General; March 17, 2022.

Electronic health record (EHR) implementation failures cause major disruptions to care delivery that can result in inefficiencies, misinformation, and unsafe care. This three-part investigation examines the impact of the new United States Veterans Affairs EHR system problems on medication management, care coordination, and problem reporting and resolution at one facility.

Blythe A. NC Health News. March 10, 2022

Patient harm in dentistry is receiving increased attention and scrutiny. This story covers a medication incident and the lack of safety support that contributed to the death of a patient receiving oral surgery. It discusses the response of the patient’s family and their work to change regulations for dental sedation.
Zheng MY, Lui H, Patino G, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e401-e406.
California law requires adverse events that led to serious injury or death because of hospital noncompliance to be reported to the state licensing agency. These events are referred to as “immediate jeopardy.” Using publicly available data, this study analyzed all immediate jeopardy cases between 2007 and 2017. Of the 385 immediate jeopardy cases, 36.6% led to patient death, and the most common category was surgical.

Fed Register. February 10, 2022;87: 7838-7840.

The 2016 Centers for Disease Control opioid guidelines have raised concerns as to their potential to contribute to patient harm. This announcement calls for comments from the field to inform and update current policy in response to safety issues that emerged as unintended consequences of the 2016 recommendation. Comments are due to be submitted by April 11, 2022.
Khoong EC, Sharma AE, Gupta K, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:1270-1274.
In response to concerns about COVID-19 transmission, many ambulatory care visits have transitioned to telehealth visits. This commentary describes the impact of telehealth on diagnostic errors and medication safety in ambulatory settings. Recommendations to further understand the impact of telemedicine on patient safety include: systematically measuring patient safety outcomes and increasing reporting of safety incidents; identifying the patients and clinical scenarios with the greatest risk of unsafe telehealth care; identifying and supporting best practices to ensure equal access to safe telehealth.
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. The 2021 report highlights that a wide range of quality measures have shown improvement in quality, access, and cost.
Tzeng H-M, Raji MA, Chou L-N, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2021;37:6-13.
Potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) for older adults carry a high risk of adverse drug events. Using a sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 2015 to 2018, researchers assessed the impact of state scope of practice regulations for nurse practitioners (NPs) on PIM prescribing patterns compared to primary care physicians. Findings indicate that the PIM prescribing rate is lower in states with full NP practice and lower among NPs than among physicians.

Joseph A. Stat News. November 22, 2021

The opioid epidemic has put regulatory and professional pressures on the tapering of pain medications that have had unintended consequences for patients resulting in harm. This news story discusses how one family used legal means to address systemic gaps and clinical missteps that resulted in patient suicide due to lack of appropriate pain control.
Townsend T, Cerdá M, Bohnert AS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40:1766-1775.
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.
Moureaud C, Hertig JB, Dong Y, et al. Health Policy (New York). 2021;125:1421-1429.
Based on survey responses from 1,002 participants, this study evaluated how social media users assess, interact and engage with information related to the illegal sales of prescription medicines. Findings suggest that individuals generally perceive online pharmacies and social media platforms to be safe and respondents are confident in their ability to acquire legitimate medicines. The authors note that this false confidence has the potential to lead to patient harm given the prevalence of counterfeit and substandard medication available on these platforms.
Holmgren AJ, Bates DW. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4:e2125173.
Hospitals participating in the voluntary Leapfrog program must publicly report data on several quality measures. Hospitals that participated in the Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) Evaluation Tool, which measures medication safety, had a mean score of 59.3% at baseline. Hospitals that received negative feedback showed greater improvement than hospitals that received positive feedback, demonstrating the utility of public reporting in improving quality.

Ridge K. London, England: Crown Copyright; 2021. September 22, 2021.

Overprescribing has attained prominence as a safety issue due to the current opioid epidemic, but it has long reduced medication safety across the spectrum of health care. The report examines the systemic and cultural issues that contribute to overprescribing and recommends a governmental leadership position to drive change and implement deprescribing and other reduction initiatives.

Thomas K, Gebeloff R, Silver-Greenberg J. New York Times. September 11, 2021.

Nursing home medication misuse is a contributor to resident harm. This story highlights system influences such as staffing shortages, reporting failures and normalization of prescribing behaviors that coincide with the misuse of antipsychotic medications and overdiagnosis of schizophrenia.
Chua K-P, Brummett CM, Conti RM, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2021051539.
Despite public policies and guidelines to reduce opioid prescribing, providers continue to overprescribe these medications to children, adolescents, and young adults. In this analysis of US retail pharmacy data, 3.5% of US children and young adults were dispensed at least one opioid prescription; nearly half of those included at least one factor indicating they were high risk. Consistent with prior research, dentists and surgeons were the most frequent prescribers, writing 61% of all opiate prescriptions.
Agnoli A, Xing G, Tancredi DJ, et al. JAMA. 2021;326:411-419.
Sudden discontinuation of opioids has been linked to increased patient harm. This observational study evaluated the link between tapering and overdose, and mental health crisis among patients who were receiving long-term opioid therapy. Patients who underwent dose tapering had an increased risk of overdose and mental health crisis compared to those who did not undergo dose tapering. 

Szalavitz M. Wired Magazine. August 11, 2021. 

The opioid epidemic has contributed to uncertainties for pain management patients that result in harm. This article discusses how an endometriosis patient was unable to get prescriptions to manage her pain due to misinformation generated through screening tools designed to identify opioid misuse and inform prescribing decisions.