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Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; May 26, 2022.

Surgical equipment sterilization can be hampered by equipment design, production pressures, process complexity and policy misalignment. This report examines a case of unclean surgical instrument use. It recommends external sterile service assessment and competency review as steps toward improving the reliability of instrument decontamination processes in the National Health Service.
Bentley SK, Meshel A, Boehm L, et al. Adv Simul (Lond). 2022;7:15.
In situ simulations are an effective method to identify latent safety threats (LST). Seventy-four in situ cardiac arrest simulations were conducted in one hospital, identifying 106 unique LSTs. Four LSTs were deemed imminent safety threats and were immediately resolved following debrief; another 15 were prioritized as high-risk.
Smith M, Vaughan Sarrazin M, Wang X, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1314-1324.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted healthcare delivery and contributed to delays in care. Based on a retrospective matched cohort of Medicare patients, this study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients who may be at risk for missed or delayed care. Researchers found that patients with four or more indicators for risk of missed or delayed care (e.g., chronic conditions, frailty, disability affecting use of telehealth) had higher mortality and lower rates of healthcare utilization, including primary care visits.
Hautz WE, Kündig MM, Tschanz R, et al. Diagnosis. 2021;9:241-249.
Diagnostic errors can be identified by measuring concordance of initial and final diagnosis, for instance admission and discharge diagnoses. In this study, researchers developed and tested an automated trigger system to determine concordance between pairs of diagnoses. In comparison to the reference standard (concordance determined by experts) the automated system performance was excellent.

Andreou A. Scientific AmericanMay 26, 2022.

Negative comments and attitudes indicate a lack of professionalism that can affect patient care. This article shares concerns about surgeon biases toward patients who are overweight and calls for clinicians to recognize the problem and address it.
Lichtner V, Dowding D. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2022;294:740-744.
Barcode medication administration (BCMA) processes are designed to prevent some types of medication administration errors. This article discusses how BCMA workflows support error prevention and how to identify workarounds that negate these error prevention mechanisms.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Building a Thriving Health Workforce. Washington DC: Office of the Surgeon General; May 2022.

Health care staff and clinician wellbeing is known to affect safety and quality. This advisory suggests national priorities to target improvement efforts. Areas of focus include workforce shortages, system inequities and burnout.
Sun EC, Mello MM, Vaughn MT, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2022;Epub May 23.
Physician fatigue can inhibit decision-making and contribute to poor performance. This cross-sectional study examined surgical procedures performed between January 2010 and August 2020 across 20 high-volume hospitals in the United States to determine the association between surgeon fatigue, operating overnight and outcomes for operations performed by the same surgeon the next day. No significant associations were found between overnight surgeries and surgical outcomes for procedures performed the next day.
Doorey AJ, Turi ZG, Lazzara EH, et al. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2022;Epub Apr 14.
Closed loop communication (CLC) ensures a clear transfer of information by having the recipient repeat the order for verification.  In this study, procedures in the cardiac catheterization lab were observed to assess the frequency and accuracy of CLC. Despite three interventions over five years (education, on-going feedback, accountability), CLC remained suboptimal, with both incomplete orders given and incomplete responses.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Orlando, FL, December 4-7, 2022.

This hybrid conference will offer workshops and interactive sessions exploring strategies from within health care and beyond to improve health care quality. A symposium will be held focusing on improvement science research and application.
Al-Khafaji J, Townshend RF, Townsend W, et al. BMJ Open. 2022;12:e058219.
Checklists are used to improve patient outcomes in a wide variety of clinical settings and processes, such as childbirth, surgery, and diagnosis. This review applied the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety 2.0 (SEIPS 2.0) human factors framework to 25 diagnostic checklists. Checklists were characterized within the three primary components (work systems, processes, and outcomes) and subcomponents. Checklists addressing the Task subcomponent were associated with a reduction in diagnostic errors. Several subcomponents were not addressed (e.g. External Environment, Organization) and present an opportunity for future research.

Burton É, Flores B, Jerome B, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(5):e2213234.

Disruptive clinician behavior is a recognized patient safety concern. This study used reports submitted to the internal patient safety reporting system to explore potential implicit bias in the types and severity of reports filed against physicians. Results showed women and minoritized physicians were disproportionately reported for low-severity issues such as communication, while men and white physicians were more likely to be reported for the highest severity level. Findings suggest a lower threshold for submitting reports against women and minoritized physicians which may be due to implicit bias.
Ramani S, Halpern TA, Akerman M, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2022;226:556.e1-556.e9.
Cesarean delivery can lead to adverse outcomes and is commonly used as a measure of obstetrical quality; however, these measures do not account for preexisting maternal and neonatal morbidities, which may increase risk for cesarean delivery. This article describes the development and testing of a new obstetrical quality measure that integrates cesarean delivery rates adjusted for preexisting high-risk maternal factors as well as maternal and neonatal morbidities. Among obstetricians in one large hospital, researchers found that this metric led to significantly different clinician rankings in terms of obstetrical quality (compared to rankings based on crude or adjusted cesarean delivery rates alone.) The authors suggest that this new metric can help identify opportunities for practice improvement among individual clinicians and institutions.
Aranaz-Ostáriz V, Gea-Velázquez De Castro MT, López-Rodríguez-Arias F, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:4761.
Preventable adverse events (AE) can occur across medical settings. This study of patients admitted to a surgical ward in Spain compared rates of AE in operated and non-operated patients. Operated patients were more than twice as likely to experience an AE compared with non-operated patients. The most common AE was infection following surgery, affecting 24% of operated and 9% of non-operated patients.
Dyrbye LN, West CP, Sinsky CA, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2213080.
Burnout is characterized as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decreased sense of accomplishment at work which results in overwhelming negative emotions. Earlier studies have focused on the association of burnout with the electronic medical record and the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. This study focused on the association of physician burnout and mistreatment by patients, families and visitors. Survey respondents reported experiencing mistreatment (e.g., racially or ethnically offensive remarks) and discrimination (e.g., patients or families refusing to allow the physician to provide treatment based on their gender, race, or ethnicity) in the past year. Experiencing mistreatment or discrimination was associated with burnout.
Estiri H, Strasser ZH, Rashidian S, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;Epub May 2.
While artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare may potentially improve some areas of patient care, its overall safety depends, in part, on the algorithms used to train it. One hospital developed four AI models at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to predict risks such as hospitalization or ICU admission. Researchers found inconsistent instances of model-level bias and recommend a holistic approach to search for unrecognized bias in health AI.
Jambon J, Choukroun C, Roux-Marson C, et al. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2022;45:65-71.
Polypharmacy in older adults is an ongoing safety concern due to the risk of being prescribed a potentially inappropriate medication or co-prescription of medications with dangerous interactions. In this study of adults aged 65 and older with chronic pain, 54% were taking at least one potentially inappropriate medication and 43% were at moderate or high risk of adverse drug events. Measures such as involvement of a pharmacist in medication review could reduce risk of adverse drug events in older adult outpatients.
Lazzara EH, Simonson RJ, Gisick LM, et al. Ergonomics. 2022;Epub Apr 19.
Structured handoffs support appropriate communication between teams or departments when transferring responsibility for care. This meta-analysis aimed to determine if structured, standardized post-operative anesthesia handoffs improved provider, patient, organizational and handoff outcomes. Postoperative outcomes moved in a generally positive direction when compared with non-standardized handoffs. The authors suggest additional research into pre- and intra-operative handoffs is needed.
Luty JT, Oldham H, Smeraglio A, et al. Acad Med. 2022;97:529-535.
Improving student and resident education and involvement in quality improvement and patient safety is a goal of graduate medical education. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University developed a simulation-based medical education curriculum for multidisciplinary residents and fellows. The pilot cohort reported significantly improved reactions, attitudes and confidence, and knowledge and skills.
Massart N, Mansour A, Ross JT, et al. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2022;163:2131-2140.e3.
Surgical site infections and other postoperative healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) can lead to significant patient morbidity and mortality. This retrospective study examined the relationship between HAIs after cardiac surgery and postoperative inpatient mortality. Among 8,853 patients undergoing cardiac surgery in one academic hospital in France, 4.2% developed an HAI after surgery. When patients developing an HAI were matched with patients who did not, the inpatient mortality rate was significantly greater among patients with HAIs (15.4% vs. 5.7%).