Skip to main content

All Content

Search Tips
Save
Selection
Format
Download
Published Date
Original Publication Date
Original Publication Date
PSNet Publication Date
Additional Filters
1 - 20 of 215

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; February 17, 2022.

Pre-hospital emergency care can be vulnerable to timing, information, and task failures that compromise safety. This investigation explores how computerized decision support system access played a roles in an emergency call-center program incident where erroneous information was transmitted to a pregnant patient that contributed to infant harm.
Fischer H, Hahn EE, Li BH, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:222-232.
While falls are common in older adults, there was a 31% increase in death due to falls in the U.S. from 2007-2016, partially associated with the increase in older adults in the population. This mixed methods study looked at the prevalence, risk factors, and contributors to potentially harmful medication dispensed after a fall/fracture of patients using the Potentially Harmful Drug-Disease Interactions in the Elderly (HEDIS DDE) codes. There were 113,809 patients with a first time fall; 35.4% had high-risk medications dispensed after their first fall. Interviews with 22 physicians identified patient reluctance to report falls and inconsistent assessment, and documentation of falls made it challenging to consider falls when prescribing medications.

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

Maxwell E, Amerine J, Carlton G, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;78:s88-s94.
Clinical decision support (CDS) tools are intended to enhance care decision and delivery processes. This single-site retrospective study evaluated whether a CDS tool can reduce discharge prescription errors for patients receiving a medication substitution at admission. Findings indicate that use of CDS did not result in a decrease in discharge prescription omissions, duplications, or inappropriate medication reconciliation.

A 31-year-old woman presented to the ED with worsening shortness of breath and was unexpectedly found to have a moderate-sized left pneumothorax, which was treated via a thoracostomy tube. After additional work-up and computed tomography (CT) imaging, she was told that she had some blebs and mild emphysema, but was discharged without any specific follow-up instructions except to see her primary care physician.

This commentary presents two cases highlighting common medication errors in retail pharmacy settings and discusses the importance of mandatory counseling for new medications, use of standardized error reporting processes, and the role of clinical decision support systems (CDSS) in medical decision-making and ensuring medication safety.

A 24-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes presented to the emergency department with worsening abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Her last dose of insulin was one day prior to presentation. She stopped taking insulin because she was not tolerating any oral intake. The admitting team managed her diabetes with subcutaneous insulin but thought the patient did not meet criteria for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), but after three inpatient days with persistent hyperglycemia, blurred vision, and altered mental status, a consulting endocrinologist diagnosed DKA.

Cattaneo D, Pasina L, Maggioni AP, et al. Drugs Aging. 2021;38:341-346.
Older adults are at increased risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infections. This study examined the potential severe drug-drug interactions (DDI) among hospitalized older adults taking two or more medications at admission and discharge. There was a significant increase in prescription of proton pump inhibitors and heparins from admission to discharge. Clinical decision support systems should be used to assess potential DDI with particular attention paid to the risk of bleeding complications linked to heparin-based DDIs.
Friebe MP, LeGrand JR, Shepherd BE, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2020;11:865-872.
The prescribing of potentially inappropriate medications, particularly among older adults, is an ongoing quality and safety concern. Among adults 65 years and older, this study found that clinical decision support integrated with a new electronic health record system significantly reduced potentially inappropriate medications.   
Pedersen CA, Schneider PJ, Ganio MC, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77:1026-1050.
This article describes results from the 2019 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists national survey regarding inpatient pharmacy practice. The authors note the increasing responsibilities placed on pharmacists and their role in addressing the opioid crisis, adopting intravenous workflow technologies, and leveraging clinical decision support tools to improve medication administration safety.
A 55-year old woman became unarousable with low oxygen saturation as a result of multiple intravenous benzodiazepine doses given overnight. The benzodiazepine was ordered following a seizure in the intensive care unit (ICU) and was not revised or discontinued upon transfer to the floor; several doses were given for different indications - anxiety and insomnia.
After undergoing a complete atrioventricular canal defect repair, an infant with trisomy 21 was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was ordered due to low cardiac output. When the TPN order expired, it was not reordered in time for cross-checking by the dietician and pediatric pharmacist and the replacement TPN order was mistakenly entered to include sodium chloride 77 mEq/100 mL, a ten-fold higher concentration than intended.
Krukas A, Franklin ES, Bonk C, et al. Patient Safety. 2020;2.
Intravenous vancomycin is an antibiotic with known medication safety risk factors. This assessment is designed to assist organizations to review clinician and organizational knowledge, medication administration activities and health information technology as a risk management strategy to minimize hazards associated with vancomycin use. 
Rogero-Blanco E, Lopez-Rodriguez JA, Sanz-Cuesta T, et al. JMIR Med Inform. 2020;8.
Older patients are vulnerable to adverse drug events due to comorbidities and polypharmacy. This cross-sectional study from Spain reviewed prescriptions for 593 older adults aged 65-75 years with multiple comorbidities and documented polypharmacy to estimate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing using the STOPP and Beers Criteria. Potentially inappropriate prescribing was detected in over half of patients. The most frequently detected inappropriate prescriptions were for prolonged use of benzodiazepines (36% of patients) and prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors (45% of patients). Multiple risk factors associated with potentially inappropriate prescribing were identified, including polypharmacy and use of central nervous system drugs.

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.

Jena AB, Olenski AR. New York Times. February 20, 2020.

Unconscious biases affecting health care decisions elevate the potential for harm. This news story discusses how experience and implicit biases can impact physician decision-making. The use of decision support is one strategy highlighted to redirect heuristics and other cognitive biases to minimize their impact on treatment.   
Three patients were at the same hospital over the course of a few months for vascular access device (VAD) placement and experienced adverse outcomes. The adverse outcomes of two of them were secondary to drugs given for sedation, while the third patient’s situation was somewhat different. Vascular access procedures are extremely common and are relatively short but may require the use of procedural sedation, which is usually very well tolerated but can involve significant risk, as these cases illustrate.
Gordon L, Grantcharov T, Rudzicz F. JAMA Surg. 2019.
Advances in technology enable real-time intraoperative data capture to prevent adverse events and improve patient safety and recovery. This commentary describes a surgical innovation that combined artificial intelligence, video technology, and clinical decision support and was designed to flag potential bleeding events in the surgical suite.
Whitaker P. New Statesman. August 2, 2019;148:38-43.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced computing technologies can enhance clinical decision-making. Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of artificial intelligence, this news article cautions against the wide deployment of AI until robust evaluation and implementation strategies are in place to enhance system reliability. A recent PSNet perspective discussed emerging safety issues in the use of artificial intelligence.