The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Patient harm in dentistry is receiving increased attention and scrutiny. This story covers a medication incident and the lack of safety support that contributed to the death of a patient receiving oral surgery. It discusses the response of the patient’s family and their work to change regulations for dental sedation.
Chua K-P, Brummett CM, Conti RM, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;148:e2021051539.
Despite public policies and guidelines to reduce opioid prescribing, providers continue to overprescribe these medications to children, adolescents, and young adults. In this analysis of US retail pharmacy data, 3.5% of US children and young adults were dispensed at least one opioid prescription; nearly half of those included at least one factor indicating they were high risk. Consistent with prior research, dentists and surgeons were the most frequent prescribers, writing 61% of all opiate prescriptions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare delivery. This study reviewed data from a large medical professional liability company to explore guidance sought by physicians and dentists during the initial months of the pandemic. Providers’ questions and concerns primarily involved operations (e.g., access to personal protective equipment, liability coverage), patient care (e.g., guidance for screening patients), scope of practice, and use of telemedicine.
Brown KW, Carlisle K, Raman SR, et al. Health Aff (Milwood). 2020;39:1737-1742.
Over the last decade, children have experienced a dramatic rise in hospitalizations and intensive care unit stays related to opioid use. Based on Medicaid claims in North Carolina, prescribers of opioids for children were most commonly physicians and dentists. More than 3% of children ages 1 to 17 years had at least one opioid prescription filled annually; 76.6 children per 100,000 experienced an opioid-related adverse event or other harm. Adolescents ages 15 to 17 years disproportionately experienced these harms compared to younger age groups. Black and urban children were less likely to fill opioid prescriptions or experience adverse events, but they were more likely to experience other opioid-related harm, such as abuse or dependence.
Zhou J, Calip GS, Rowan S, et al. Pharmacotherapy. 2020;40:992-1001.
This study analyzed the association between potentially inappropriate prescribing involving opioids prescribed by dentists and emergency department visits and hospitalizations among older patients. Results indicated that a significant proportion of older patients prescribed opioids by their dentist have contraindications (such as psychotropic medication use) which places them at increased risk for 30-day hospitalizations.
Despite efforts to reduce opioid prescribing for pain management, physicians and dentists still overprescribe these medications. This news story shares concerns regarding how engrained the reliance on medications for pain management is to the culture of care and its role in opiate dependence and abuse.
This two-part series discusses anesthesia- and sedation-related medication errors and adverse events in healthcare and dentistry (part 1) and how these errors impact dentistry and approaches to address these issues within a dental anesthesia medication safety paradigm - the Dental Anesthesia Medication Safety Paradigm (DAMSP) - which offers four general guidelines for reducing anesthesia medication errors and adverse drug events in dentistry (part 2).
Harbaugh CM, Lee JS, Chua K-P, et al. JAMA Surg. 2019;154:e185838.
This retrospective cohort study found that adolescent patients who received opioids for surgical and dental procedures were more likely to develop persistent opioid use if they had family members with long-term opioid use. The study team recommends preoperative screening for long-term opioid use in family members as part of prescribing decision-making for adolescent patients.
Schroeder AR, Dehghan M, Newman TB, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179:145-152.
This retrospective cohort study found that opioid-naive adolescents who received an opioid prescription from a dentist were more likely to receive a subsequent opioid prescription or be diagnosed with an opioid use disorder compared to opioid-naive adolescents who did not receive an opioid prescription from a dentist. This finding is consistent with prior studies in adults, demonstrating increased risk of subsequent opioid use following short-term prescriptions. The authors urge caution in prescribing opioids to adolescents.
Patient safety concepts that have been embraced by hospital and ambulatory medical care are increasingly being applied to dental practice. This review discusses adverse events in pediatric dental patients and suggests that when they occur, such incidents affect the ability of dental practitioners to provide care. The author highlights peer support as an important tactic to assist these second victims.
The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum both consider wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgeries to be never events. Despite improvement approaches ranging from the Universal Protocol to nonpayment for the procedures themselves and any consequent care, these serious surgical errors continue to occur. This study measured the incidence of incorrect surgeries in Veterans Health Administration medical centers from 2010 to 2017. Surgical patient safety events resulting in harm were rare and declined by more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2017. Dentistry, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery had the highest incidence of in–operating room adverse events. Root cause analysis revealed that 29% of events could have been prevented with a correctly performed time-out. A WebM&M commentary examined an incident involving a wrong-side surgery.
Lee JS, Curley AW, Smith RA, et al. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2007;65:1793-9.
This article discusses strategies to prevent wrong-site tooth extraction including education, improving referral forms, and standardizing preoperative procedures. A prior AHRQ WebM&M commentary also discussed this topic.
Galt KA, Paschal KA, O'Brien RL, et al. J Patient Saf. 2008;2.
As the science of patient safety evolves, methods for teaching patient safety concepts are being developed as well. This article describes the development of a formal curriculum in patient safety that sought to enroll students in all health professions (medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical/occupational therapy, dentistry, social work, and law). The course sought to communicate the basic concepts of patient safety, including the science of errors, the culture of safety, and the use of evidence to improve patient safety. The authors discuss the challenges of enrolling students from different disciplines and students' perceptions of the course.
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