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The PSNet Collection: All Content

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.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 22 Results
Ayalew MB, Spark MJ, Quirk F, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2022;44:860-872.
Patients with diabetes, particularly those taking multiple medications, are at increased for medication adverse events. In this review of nearly 200 studies of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) for patients with diabetes, several types of PIPs occurred: contraindication, omission, incorrect dosing, drug-drug interaction, inappropriate drug selection, and unnecessary drug therapy.
Parker H, Frost J, Day J, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0271454.
Prophylactic antimicrobials are frequently prescribed for surgical patients despite the risks of antimicrobial overuse (e.g., resistance). This review summarizes how and why antimicrobials continue to be prescribed in surgical settings despite evidence of overuse. Eight overarching concepts were identified: hierarchy; fear drives action; deprioritized; convention trumps evidence; complex judgments; discontinuity of care; team dynamics; and practice environment.
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.
Kukielka E, Jones R. Patient Safety. 2022;4:49-59.
Medication errors can occur in all clinical settings, but can have especially devastating results in emergency departments (EDs). Between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2020, 250 serious medication errors occurring in the ED were reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System. Errors were more likely to occur on weekends and between 12:00 pm and midnight; patients were more likely to be women. Potential strategies to reduce serious medication errors (e.g., inclusion of emergency medicine pharmacists in patient care) are discussed.
Patient Safety Primer October 27, 2021

Deprescribing is an intervention used to reduce the risk of adverse drug events (ADEs) that can result from polypharmacy. It is the process of supervised medication discontinuation or dose reduction to reduce potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use.

Huynh I, Rajendran T. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001363.
Unintentional therapeutic duplication can lead to life-threatening complications. As part of a quality improvement project on a surgical ward, staff were educated about the risks of therapeutic duplication and strategies to decrease it. After one month of education and reminders, the rate of therapeutic duplication decreased by more than half.

Issue Brief. Washington DC: Pew Charitable Trust; March 2021.

Antibiotic overuse is a contributor to nosocomial infection. This report discusses problems associated with antibiotic prescribing during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Systemic problems arising from the situation include disparities associated with antibiotic administration and unneeded receipt of medications by some patients.
Money NM, Schroeder AR, Quinonez RA, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174:375-382.
Medical overuse is a well-recognized patient safety challenge. This review expands upon prior research highlighting the top 10 studies published in 2018 that may help reduce overuse in pediatrics. Highlighted articles describe both established practices that may warrant deimplementation (such as routine outpatient opioid prescribing) and emerging practices that merit greater inspection or discouragement from widespread adoption (such as post-discharge nurse-led home visits).
Brownlee S; Garber J. Brookline, MA: Lown Institute; 2019.
Overprescribing is a common problem that contributes to patient harm. This report examines financial, clinical, and societal trends of medication overuse and inappropriate polypharmacy in older Americans. A culture of prescribing, deficits in information and knowledge, and fragmented care contribute to the problem. The report provides interventions to improve the safety of prescribing, including developing deprescribing guidelines, raising awareness among providers and patients about medication overload, and implementing team-based care models.
Badgery-Parker T, Pearson S-A, Dunn S, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179:499-505.
Overuse of unnecessary tests and procedures contributes to patient harm. In this cohort study, researchers found that patients who developed a hospital-acquired condition after undergoing a procedure that most likely should not have been performed had longer lengths of stay than patients who did not develop a hospital-acquired condition.
Liu J, Kaye KS, Mercuro NJ, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2019;40:206-207.
Never events are devastating to patients and indicate serious underlying organizational safety problems. This commentary suggests that there are types of inappropriate antibiotic use behaviors that should be categorized as never events, such as use of an antibiotic longer than is required. The authors believe that labeling these incidents as never events will drive development and application of prevention strategies.
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.
Scott IA, Pillans PI, Barras M, et al. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2018;9:559-573.
The prescribing of potentially inappropriate medications is a quality and safety concern. This narrative review found that information technologies equipped with decision support tools were modestly effective in reducing inappropriate prescribing of medications, more so in the hospital than the ambulatory environment.
Thorpe KE, Joski P, Johnston KJ. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:662-669.
Infections with antibiotic-resistant organisms are increasingly common in hospitals and ambulatory care, primarily driven by overuse of antibiotics for treatment of nonbacterial illnesses. This economic analysis found that antibiotic-resistant infections have doubled in incidence since 2002, and they add approximately $1,400 to the cost of care for each patient with an antibiotic-resistant infection. The study was performed using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which is conducted by AHRQ. This survey does not include data on institutionalized adults, such as residents of long-term care facilities. Since antibiotic-resistant infections are common in these patients, this study may actually underestimate the total economic burden of these infections. The devastating effects of an antibiotic-resistant infection for a health care practitioner were vividly illustrated in a PSNet perspective.
Carroll AE. JAMA. 2017;318:1748-1749.
The provision of unneeded care can result in physical, financial, and psychological harm to patients. This commentary explores factors in health care that contribute to overtreatment and recommends reducing financial incentives for providing low-value care by increasing transparency regarding clinician conflict of interest and engaging insurers in changing clinician behaviors.
Szabo L.
Overdiagnosis and overtreatment present a challenge to patient safety. This news article reports on the prevalence of overtreatment among patients with cancer, how it can result in patient harm, and patient stories that illustrate the impact of overtreatment. A past PSNet interview discussed the patient safety implications of diagnostic radiology overuse. 
Ralston SL, Schroeder AR. JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171:931-932.
Health care overuse has been recognized as a potential contributor to patient harm. This commentary suggests that the problem of medical overuse begins in childhood and advocates for efforts to reduce overuse that focus on pediatric care. A recent WebM&M commentary discussed risks related to overdiagnosis and medical overuse.
Jørgensen KJ, Gøtzsche PC, Kalager M, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166:313-323.
The overuse of medical care is increasingly recognized as a patient safety issue. Overdiagnosis can result in unnecessary use of medical care, subjecting patients to greater risk of harm. For example, in the case of breast cancer, screening may detect lesions that are not clinically significant, leading to further testing and unnecessary procedures. This study examined the impact of mammography screening on a cohort of women in Denmark. Researchers found that screening was not associated with decreased incidence of advanced cancer but increased incidence of nonadvanced tumors and ductal carcinoma in situ; the rate of overdiagnosis was significant. An accompanying editorial discusses overdiagnosis in breast cancer.
National Quality Partners. Washington, DC: National Quality Forum; 2016.
Antimicrobial stewardship has been promoted as a strategy to improve patient safety by reducing overuse of antibiotics to prevent hospital-acquired infections. This report draws from the experience of existing programs to summarize practical strategies for implementing initiatives. Core elements include engaging leadership, monitoring effectiveness, and reporting benchmarks.