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Post-acute transitions – which involve patients being discharged from the hospital to home-based or community care environments – are associated with patient safety risks, often due to poor communication and fragmented care. This primer outlines the main types of home-based care services and formal home-based care programs and how these services can increase patient safety and improve health outcomes.

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.
Peat G, Olaniyan JO, Fylan B, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2022;18:3534-3541.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of healthcare delivery for both patients and health care workers. This study explored the how COVID-19-related policies and initiatives intended to improve patient safety impacted workflow, system adaptations, as well as organizational and individual resilience among community pharmacists.
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.
Farhat A, Al‐Hajje A, Csajka C, et al. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2021;46:877-886.
Several tools have been developed to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing. This study explored the economic and clinical impacts of two tools, STOPP/START and FORTA (Fit fOR The Aged list). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using those tools demonstrated significant clinical and economic impact in geriatric and internal medicine. Due to the low number of RCT studies evaluating these tools, additional studies are warranted.
Hahn EE, Munoz-Plaza CE, Lee EA, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;36:3015-3022.
Older adults taking potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) are at increased risk of adverse events including falls. Patients and primary care providers described their knowledge and awareness of risk of falls related to PIMs, deprescribing experiences, and barriers and facilitators to deprescribing. Patients reported lack of understanding of the reason for deprescribing, and providers reported concerns over patient resistance, even among patients with falls. Clinician training strategies, patient education, and increased trust between providers and patients could increase deprescribing, thereby reducing risk of falls. 

José A, Morfín, MD, FASN, is a health sciences clinical professor at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. In his professional role, he serves as the Medical Director for Satellite Health Care and as a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Nx Stage Medical. We discussed with him home dialysis and patient safety considerations.

Sharma AE, Yang J, Del Rosario JB, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:5-14.
Ambulatory care settings are receiving increased attention as a focus for patient safety improvements. Using data from a multistate patient safety organization (PSO) database, the researchers sought to characterize patterns and characteristics of patient safety incidents reported in ambulatory care settings. Analyses found that 5.9% of events resulted in severe harm and 1.9% resulted in patient death. Over half of the events were from outpatient subspecialty care; fewer events occurred in home/community (5.2%), primary care (2.1%), or dialysis (2.0%) settings. Medication-related events were most common, followed by clinical deterioration and falls. Predictors of higher harm included diagnostic errors, patient/caregiver challenges, and events occurring in home/community or psychiatric settings. These results can help ambulatory care settings target safety events and develop systems-level prevention strategies.  

Auraaen A, Saar K, Klazinga N for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD Publishing, Paris, France; 2020. OECD Health Working Papers, No. 120.

Policies, laws, and guidelines aid organizations to develop, prioritize and achieve patient safety goals. This report examined a 25-country analysis of patient safety governance efforts and found that learning and non-punitive approaches are strategies being progressively implemented worldwide.

London, UK: General Medical Council; September 14, 2020.

Physician caregiving effectiveness can be tested during crisis situations. This guidance shares recommendations for leaders assessing complaints against physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic to consider extenuating circumstances when determining next steps in managing the response to poor care delivery. 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Organizations worldwide are focusing efforts on reducing the conditions that contribute to medical error. This website provides a collection of reports and other resources that cover activities and concerns of the 37 member countries active in the organization to address universal challenges to patient safety.
Brody JE. New York Times. 2020.
Inappropriate care activities can cascade to significantly impact patient safety. This article shares how medication side effects can be misdiagnosed to perpetuate harm in older patients rather than getting to the root of the care concerns. 
J Patient Saf. 2020;16:s1-s56.
The patient safety evidence base has been growing exponentially for two decades with noted expansion into the non-acute care environment. This special issue highlights eight articles illustrating the range of practices examined in the AHRQ Making Healthcare Safer III report, including rapid response teams and failure to rescue, deprescribing practices and opioid stewardship.   
Choudhury A, Asan O. JMIR Med Inform. 2020;8:e18599.
This systematic review explored how artificial intelligence (AI) based on machine learning algorithms and natural language processing is used to address and report patient safety outcomes. The review suggests that AI-enabled decision support systems can improve error detection, patient stratification, and drug management, but that additional evidence is needed to understand how well AI can predict safety outcomes.  

Levett-Jones T, ed. Clin Sim Nurs. 2020;44(1):1-78; 2020;45(1):1-60.

Simulation is a recognized technique to educate and plan to improve care processes and safety. This pair of special issues highlights the use of simulation in nursing and its value in work such as communication enhancement, minority population care, and patient deterioration.   
Larouzee J, Le Coze J-C. Safety Sci. 2020;126:104660.
This article describes the development of the “Swiss cheese model,” (SCM) and the main criticisms of this model and the motivation for these criticisms.  The article concludes that the SCM remains a relevant model because of its systemic foundations and its sustained use in high-risk industries and encourages safety science researchers and practitioners to continue imagining alternatives combining empirical, practical and graphical approaches.
Lindblad M, Unbeck M, Nilsson L, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2020;20:289.
This study used a trigger tool to retrospectively identify and characterize no-harm incidents affecting adult patients in home healthcare settings in Sweden. The most common incidents identified by the trigger tool were falls without injury, medication management incidents, and moderate pain. Common contributing factors included delayed, erroneous, or incomplete nursing care and treatment.
Chauhan A, Walton M, Manias E, et al. Int J Equity Health. 2020;19:118.
In this systematic review, the authors characterized patient safety events affecting ethnic minority populations internationally. Findings indicate that ethnic minority populations experience higher rates of hospital-acquired infections, complications, adverse drug events, and dosing errors. The authors identified several factors contributing to the increased risk, including language proficiency, beliefs about illness and treatment, interpreter use, consumer engagement, and interactions with health professionals.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) support transparency through the provision of publicly available information on the quality of health care service in the United States. This portal enables access to comparative quality and safety data from doctors & clinicians, hospital, nursing home, home health, hospice, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals, and dialysis facilities to support informed consumer health care provider selection activities.