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Brady KJS, Barlam TF, Trockel MT, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:287-297.
Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics to treat viral illnesses is an ongoing patient safety threat. This study examined the association between clinician depression, anxiety, and burnout and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in outpatient care. Depression and anxiety, but not burnout, were associated with increased adjusted odds of inappropriate prescribing for RTIs.

Jagsi R, Griffith KA, Vicini F, et al for the Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium. JAMA OncolEpub 2022 Apr 21. 

Concordance of patient-reported symptoms and provider-documented symptoms is necessary for appropriate patient care and has clinical implications for research. This study compared patient-reported symptoms (pain, pruritus, edema, and fatigue) following radiotherapy for breast cancer with provider assessments. Underrecognition of at least one symptom occurred in more than 50% of patients. Underrecognition was more common in Black patients and those seen by male physicians. The authors suggest that interventions to improve communication between providers and patients may not only improve outcomes but also reduce racial disparities.
Madden C, Lydon S, Murphy AW, et al. Fam Pract. 2022;Epub Apr 20.
Patient complaints and patient-reported incidents can help identify safety issues. This study compared clinician perceptions and patients’ accounts regarding patient safety incidents and identified a significant difference in perceptions about incident severity. Patients’ accounts of incidents commonly described deficiencies related to communication, staff performance, compassion, and respect.
Plymouth Meeting, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; 2022.
This updated report describes best practices to ensure safety when preparing sterile compounds, including pharmacist verification of orders entered into computerized provider order entry systems. The guidelines emphasize the role of technologies such as barcoding and robotic image recognition as approaches to enhance safety. In addition, it covers safe practices when technologies are not available.
Tee QX, Nambiar M, Stuckey S. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2022;66:202-207.
Diagnostic errors in radiology can result in treatment delays and contribute to patient harm. This article provides an overview of the common cognitive biases encountered in diagnostic radiology that can contribute to diagnostic error, and strategies to avoid these biases, such as the use of a cognitive bias mitigation strategy checklist, peer feedback, promoting a just culture, and technology approaches including artificial intelligence (AI).
Giardina TD, Choi DT, Upadhyay DK, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;29:1091-1100.
Most patients can now access their provider visit notes via online portals and many have reported mistakes such as diagnostic errors or missed allergies. This study asked patients who may be “at-risk” for diagnostic error about perceived concerns in their visit notes. Patients were more likely to report having concerns if they did not trust their provider and did not have a good feeling about the visit. Soliciting patient concerns may be one way to improve transparency regarding diagnostic errors and trust in providers.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

Workplace bullying and disrespectful behavior have been shown to negatively affect fall rates, medication errors, and other adverse events. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices is seeking clinician input on and experiences with disrespectful behaviors in the ambulatory care setting (e.g., community, specialty, and long-term care pharmacies, physician practices, and outpatient visits) and how organizations have been working to improve the culture of respect. The survey will be open until May 27, 2022.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Reproductive Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Maternal harm during and after pregnancy is a sentinel event. This campaign encourages women, families, and health providers to identify and speak up with concerns about maternal care and act on them. The program seeks to inform the design of support systems and tool development that enhance maternal safety.

Errors in medication management and administration are major threats to patient safety. This piece explores issues with opioid and nursing-sensitive medication safety as well as medication safety in older adults. Future research directions in medication safety are also discussed.

A psychologically safe environment for healthcare teams is desirable for optimal team performance, team member well-being, and favorable patient safety outcomes. This piece explores facilitators of and barriers to psychological safety across healthcare settings. Future research directions examining psychological safety in healthcare are discussed.

This Spotlight Case describes an older man incidentally diagnosed with prostate cancer, with metastases to the bone. He was seen in clinic one month after that discharge, without family present, and scheduled for outpatient biopsy. He showed up to the biopsy without adequate preparation and so it was rescheduled. He did not show up to the following four oncology appointments.

Mahomedradja RF, van den Beukel TO, van den Bos M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2022;22:35.
The potential for medication errors may increase due to redeployment and reorganization of hospital resources during COVID-19 surges. In this study of patients hospitalized during the first wave of the pandemic, over 90% had at least one prescribing error three months after hospitalization. Intensive care unit admission and a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma were risk factors for prescribing errors. Acknowledging and understanding these risk factors allows hospital leadership to target interventions for this population.
Ryser MD, Lange J, Inoue LYT, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2022;175:471-478.
Overdiagnosis of breast cancer can result in overtreatment and cause physical and emotional harm. Based on data from 35,986 women in a US-based breast cancer screening registry, this study estimates that15.4% of screen-detected cancers are overdiagnosed (i.e., detecting indolent preclinical cancer or detecting progressive preclinical cancer among women who would have died of unrelated causes before clinical diagnosis), which is higher than previous estimates. The authors suggest that data can improve shared decision-making between patients and physicians.
Clift K, Macklin-Mantia S, Barnhorst M, et al. J Prim Care Community Health. 2022;13:215013192110697.
Knowing a patient’s individual risk factors for developing cancer can assist patients and providers in deciding when to screen for cancers and can prevent both overtreatment and delays in care. This study compared patient-reported family history of cancer in the electronic health record (EHR) and family history collected using a focused questionnaire. Results showed inconsistencies between the two, especially for patients with more complicated family histories.
Coates MC, Granche J, Sefcik JS, et al. Res Gerontol Nurs. 2022;15:69-75.
Older adults, especially those taking multiple medications, are at increased risk for medication self-administration (MSE) errors. Data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) was analyzed to ascertain if the source of the medication ­– picking up from local pharmacy, receiving the medication via mail-order pharmacy, or both ­– impacted MSE or hospitalization. Respondents receiving medications via both mail-order and pick up were more likely to report hospitalizations and medication mistakes.
Yin HS, Neuspiel DR, Paul IM, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2021054666.
Children with complex home care needs are vulnerable to medication errors. This guideline suggests strategies to enhance medication safety at home that include focusing on health literacy, prescriber actions, dosing tool appropriateness, communication, and training of caregivers. A March 18, 2022 webinar will highlight factors contributing to medication errors in the home and outline strategies to reduce their impact.
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.

A 65-year-old woman with a history of 50 pack-years of cigarette smoking presented to her primary care physician (PCP), concerned about lower left back pain; she was advised to apply ice and take ibuprofen. She returned to her PCP a few months later reporting persistent pain. A lumbar spine radiograph showed mild degenerative disc disease and the patient was prescribed hydrocodone/acetaminophen in addition to ibuprofen. In the following months, she was seen by video twice for progressive, more severe pain that limited her ability to walk.