Macrae C, Draycott T. Safety Sci. 2016;117:490-500.
Simulation training can enhance teamwork, identify latent problems, and contribute to improved patient outcomes. This commentary explores the value of frontline obstetric simulation to develop high reliability. The authors discuss relational rehearsal, system structuring, and practice elaboration as elements of a successful simulation-focused organizational learning initiative.
Braun SE, Kinser PA, Rybarczyk B. Transl Behav Med. 2019;9:187-201.
Mindfulness supports reliability, team performance, and resilience. This literature analysis assessed the evidence on how mindfulness affects patient safety, treatment outcomes, and patient-centered care. The review revealed moderate influences on the overall ability of clinicians to provide effective care, but the authors conclude that further research is needed.
Bisbey TM, Reyes DL, Traylor AM, et al. Am Psychol. 2019;74:278-289.
Team development is an important focus of safety improvement. This article provides an overview of team training science and highlights aviation, military, and health care failures that motivated research to understand the psychology of teams. The authors emphasize the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration and the contributions of psychologists as research partners in this work.
Smith AF, Plunkett E. Anaesthesia. 2019;74:508-517.
Health care leaders have embraced applying safety sciences methods to improve care delivery. This review discusses the evolution of health care safety from focusing on reactive analysis and response to error (Safety-1) to one that seeks to prevent errors through emphasizing safe system design (Safety-2). The authors advocate for developing a resilient system to examine what works well and incorporate those practices into daily work.
Misinterpretations of critical tests can lead to diagnostic delays and patient harm. This review suggests combining computerized and human analysis of electrocardiogram results to enhance test interpretation accuracy and effectiveness.
Arriaga AF, Sweeney RE, Clapp JT, et al. Anesthesiology. 2019;130:1039-1048.
Debriefing after a critical event is a strategy drawn from high reliability industries to learn from failures and improve performance. This retrospective study of critical events in inpatient anesthesiology practice found that debriefing occurred in 49% of the incidents. Debriefs were less likely to occur when critical communication breakdowns were involved, and more than half of crisis events included at least one such breakdown. Interviews with care teams revealed that communication breakdowns present in some incidents impeded the subsequent debriefing process. The authors call for more consistent implementation of debriefing as a recommended patient safety process. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving miscommunication between a surgeon and an anesthesiologist.
Martin G, Khajuria A, Arora S, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2019;26:339-355.
This systematic review examined whether mobile technology has been shown to improve teamwork or communication in acute care settings. Few studies met methodological quality standards, but researchers conclude that mobile technology holds promise to enhance safety through improved teamwork and communication in hospital settings.
Kaufman RM, Dinh A, Cohn CS, et al. Transfusion (Paris). 2019;59:972-980.
Wrong-patient errors in blood transfusion can lead to serious patient harm. Research has shown that use of barcodes to ensure correct patient identification can reduce medication errors, but less is known about barcoding in transfusion management. This pre–post study examined the impact of barcode labeling on the rate of wrong blood in tube errors. Investigators found that use of barcoding improved the accuracy of labels on blood samples and samples that had even minor labeling errors had an increased chance of misidentifying the patient. The authors conclude that the results support the use of barcoding and the exclusion of blood samples with even minor labeling errors in order to ensure safe blood transfusion. An accompanying editorial delineates the complex workflow, hardware, and software required to implement barcoding for transfusion. A past WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving a mislabeled blood specimen.
Basner M; Asch DA; Shea JA; Bellini LM; Carlin M; Ecker AJ; Malone SK; Desai SV; Sternberg AL; Tonascia J; Shade DM; Katz JT; Bates DW; Even‑Shoshan O; Silber JH; Small DS; Volpp KG; Mott CG; Coats S; Mollicone DJ; Dinges DF; iCOMPARE Research Group.
This cluster-randomized trial compared an internal medicine residency schedule that adhered to 2011 duty hour regulations to a flexible schedule that maintained an overall 80-hour work week. Self-reported sleepiness and measured sleep duration did not differ by group, but residents in the flexible programs performed worse on psychomotor vigilance testing, a measure of alertness. The authors recommend implementing fatigue-management training during residency.
Timely and accurate diagnosis is a prerequisite for safe and high-quality treatment. This study used data from the Human Diagnosis Project (Human Dx, an online case-solving platform) to examine diagnostic accuracy among individual physicians compared to groups of physicians (collective intelligence). Physicians can enter cases onto the platform or solve cases that others have entered. The more physicians involved in solving a given case, the more likely that the correct diagnosis would be identified. Groups of physicians across specialties outperformed individual subspecialists even for subspecialty-relevant cases. The authors advocate for testing the use of collective intelligence for diagnosis in clinical settings. A related editorial discusses how teaching diagnosis has evolved and the possibility of using collective intelligence to improve diagnostic accuracy. In a previous PSNet interview, Shantanu Nundy, Director of Human Dx, discussed his work with the project.
Silber JH; Bellini LM; Shea JA; Desai SV; Dinges DF; Basner M; Even-Shoshan O; Hill AS; Hochman LL; Katz JT; Ross RN; Shade DM; Small DS; Sternberg AL; Tonascia J; Volpp KG; Asch DA; iCOMPARE Research Group.
Duty hour reform for resident physicians was implemented as a patient safety measure, but it remains controversial. The iCOMPARE study is a cluster-randomized noninferiority trial in which 63 internal medicine programs were assigned either to follow the 2011 duty hour rules or to maintain flexible resident schedules. Researchers found no significant differences in 30-day mortality or AHRQ patient safety indicators among programs with fixed versus flexible resident schedules, similar to a recent study of surgical trainees. Programs with flexible schedules had slightly higher 30-day readmission rates and higher incidence of prolonged length of stay. Overall, the authors conclude that local flexibility in resident schedules did not adversely affect patient safety. An accompanying editorial calls for eliciting patient perspectives about trainee duty hours and the therapeutic relationship between rotating physicians and the hospitalized patient. A previous PSNet interview discussed the FIRST trial, which examined how less restrictive duty hours affected patient outcomes and resident satisfaction.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can improve the use of data in care delivery. This review recommends steps to enhance the use of AI in bedside care. The author highlights the need for clinicians to accept that AI tools will affect care processes and be trained to participate in AI integration on the front line.
Rollman JE, Heyward J, Olson L, et al. JAMA. 2019;321:676-685.
Researchers assessed the effectiveness of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy in preventing inappropriate prescribing of transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl, high-risk opioid products with narrow prescribing indications. Survey data obtained from patients, providers, and pharmacists at various points after the FDA program's initiation suggested ongoing misunderstanding regarding appropriate prescribing. Analysis of claims data 5 years into the program revealed that anywhere from 35% to 55% of patients were prescribed transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl products inappropriately.
Breakdowns in communication and teamwork are common contributors to adverse events and can compromise safety. As medical care becomes more complex, more teams and subspecialists are involved in a patient's care, which may lead to fragmentation of care and a lack of clear ownership. This three-part series on teamwork highlights the challenges surrounding interprofessional communication and collaboration in today's health care environment, with an emphasis on the resultant adverse effects for patients. The first commentary describes a scenario in which many consultants were carefully considering a patient's case but were not communicating effectively with one another. The second commentary underscores how psychological safety can facilitate improved collaboration and error disclosure among teams. In the third part of the series, the author points out that although the practice of medicine is highly dependent on effective teamwork, medical culture continues to emphasize and even heroize the individual to its own detriment. The author suggests that further research is necessary to achieve optimal teamwork in medicine. A PSNet interview discussed the importance of leadership and teamwork in health care.
Sun E, Mello MM, Rishel CA, et al. JAMA. 2019;321:762-772.
Scheduling overlapping surgeries has raised substantial patient safety concerns. However, research regarding the impact of concurrent surgery on patient outcomes has produced conflicting results. In this multicenter retrospective cohort study, researchers examined the relationship between overlapping surgery and mortality, postoperative complications, and surgery duration for 66,430 surgeries between January 2010 and May 2018. Although overlapping surgery was not significantly associated with an increase in mortality or complications overall, researchers did find a significant association between overlapping surgery and increased length of surgery. An accompanying editorial discusses the role of overlapping surgery in promoting the autonomy of those in surgical training and suggests that further research is needed to settle the debate regarding the impact of overlapping surgery on patient safety.
Lawton R, Robinson O, Harrison R, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:382-388.
Risk aversion in clinical practice may lead to the ordering of unnecessary tests and procedures, a form of overuse that may pose harm to patients. Experienced clinicians may be more comfortable with uncertainty and risk than less experienced providers. In this cross-sectional study, researchers surveyed doctors working in three emergency departments to understand their level of experience and used vignettes to characterize their reactions to uncertainty and risk. They found a significant association between more clinical experience and less risk aversion as well as a significant association between more experience and greater ease with uncertainty. The authors caution that they cannot draw conclusions on how these findings impact patient safety. An accompanying editorial suggests that feedback is an important mechanism for improving confidence in clinical decision-making. A WebM&M commentary discussed risks related to overdiagnosis and medical overuse.
Pattni N, Arzola C, Malavade A, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2019;122:233-244.
Effective teamwork and communication are critical to ensuring patient safety in the busy environment of the operating room. This review examined the evidence on preparing staff to challenge authority in the perioperative environment. Common themes that affect speaking up included hierarchy, organizational culture, and education. Teaching that promotes open communication in the postgraduate environment and utilizing tactics such as simulation training can help address barriers to challenging authority.
Ratwani RM, Reider J, Singh H. JAMA. 2019;321:743-744.
Health information technology (IT) usability problems can affect patient safety. This commentary offers strategies to reduce the potential for unintended consequences associated with health IT. Recommendations include instituting a national registry of usability issues, establishing design standards, addressing unintended harms, simplifying documentation requirements, and developing standard measures for usability and safety.
Ilgen JS, Eva KW, de Bruin A, et al. Adv Health Sci Edu: Theory Pract. 2019;24:797-809.
Uncertainty in complex care situations is a common experience for both trainees and experienced practitioners. This review explores the concept of comfort with uncertainty in medicine and suggests that individual awareness of uncertainty is required to respond to the condition as it occurs. The authors advocate for educational and research strategies to further manage uncertainty in health care.
Jones TS, Black IH, Robinson TN, et al. Anesthesiology. 2019;130:492-501.
Surgical fires, though uncommon, can result in serious harm. This review highlights three components to be managed in the operating room to prevent fires: an oxidizer, an ignition source, and a fuel. The authors provide recommendations to ensure each element is handled safely.
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