Dinnen T, Williams H, Yardley S, et al. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2019.
Advance care planning (ACP) allows patients to express and document their preferences about medical treatment; however, there are concerns about uptake and documentation due to human error. This study used patient safety incident reports in the UK to characterize and explore safety issues arising from ACP and to identify areas for improvement. Over a ten-year period, there were 70 reports of an ACP-related patient safety incident (due to incomplete documentation, inaccessible documentation or miscommunication, or ACP directives not being followed) which led to inappropriate treatment, transfer or admission. The importance of targeting the human factors of the ACP process to improve safety is discussed. A PSNet Human Factors Primer on human factors expands on these concepts.
Clinicians are often reluctant to report impaired or incompetent colleagues. This newspaper article discusses how a Veterans Affairs system pathologist with substance addiction continued to misdiagnose patients despite performance concerns raised by colleagues.
Palmer J. Patient Saf Qual Healthc. May/June 2019.
Organizations must learn from adverse events to prevent similar incidents. Reporting on lessons to be learned from the cascade of failures connected with the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack at the door of a hospital emergency department, this magazine article outlines the importance of effective signage, appropriate security staff placement, and acceptance of the responsibility for failure.
Transparency has been heralded as a cornerstone to improvement in health care. This news article reports on a government alternative summary reporting program that allowed medical device makers to conceal safety events and malfunction reports associated with medical devices. A new program that expands access to information about device-related failures will be put in place.
Pettersen B, Tate J, Tipper K, McKean H. Colorado Senate Bill 19-201.
Communication-and-resolution mechanisms are seen as important approaches to improving transparency and healing after an adverse event. This state bill, referred to as the "Colorado Candor Act," protects conversations between organizations, clinicians, patient, and families from legal discoverability and outlines criteria to guarantee that protection.
Cullen A. Uitgeverij van Brug: The Hague, The Netherlands; 2019. ISBN: 9789065232236.
Patient stories offer important insights regarding the impact medical errors have on patients and their families. This book shares the author's experience with medical error and spotlights how lack of transparency in European health care can contribute to avoidable process failures that result in patient harm.
Fitzsimons BT, Fitzsimons LL, Sun LR. Pediatrics. 2019;143:e20183458.
Rare diseases pose diagnostic challenges for physicians. This commentary offers insights from parents of a young child who died due to a delayed stroke diagnosis as well as from the patient's neurologist to raise awareness of childhood stroke and discuss the importance of partnership to heal from loss and advocate for improvement.
Gordon M. Health Shots. National Public Radio. April 10, 2019.
Punitive responses to medical errors persist despite continued efforts to reduce them. This news article reports on an incident involving the mistaken use of a neuromuscular blocking agent that resulted in the death of a patient, the prosecution of the nurse who made the error, and systemic and human factors that contribute to similar events.
Clarkson MD, Haskell H, Hemmelgarn C, et al. BMJ. 2019;364:l1233.
The term "second victim," coined by Dr. Albert Wu, has engendered mixed responses from patients and health care professionals. This commentary raises concerns that the term negates the sense of responsibility for errors that result in harm and advocates for abandoning it.
Leonard JB, Klein-Schwartz W. Ame J Health-syst Pharm. 2019;76:264-265.
Patient and family medication administration mistakes can result in medication errors at home. This commentary describes the problem of "pill dumping," where patients combine their daily medicines into a spare vial. However, patients are at risk for mistakenly taking a vial of a single medication instead of their pill-dump vial and inadvertently overdosing. The authors suggest medication counseling and use of daily pill boxes as tactics to prevent this type of error.
Cognitive and functional decline can occur as individuals age. Concerns have been raised regarding the need to assess skills of aging physicians. This newspaper article reports on the implementation of mandatory evaluation programs to assess competencies of older surgeons and the profession's response to them.
This news article reports on the documentary To Err Is Human, which was produced and directed by the son of patient safety leader Dr. John M. Eisenberg. The film is structured around patient safety advocate Sue Sheridan's experience with diagnostic errors that resulted in harm for both her son and husband. It features a wide range of experts who discuss the impact of error on all involved, the role of culture in facilitating both mistakes and progress, and why continued work in health care safety is needed.
Hixenbaugh M, Ornstein C. Houston Chronicle and Propublica. May 2018-May 2019.
This news investigation chronicles a series of incidents in a transplant program that resulted in patient harm. The systemic nature of the problems such as insufficient whistleblower protection, accountability, and follow-up on patient concerns culminated in a change of hospital leadership. A previous PSNet interview with Charles Ornstein discussed the role of media in raising awareness of patient safety issues.
McGrory K, Bedi N. Tampa Bay Times. November 28, 2018.
Pediatric cardiac surgery is a high-risk practice. This news investigation reports on a series of serious patient safety incidents at a health care institute dedicated to treating heart problems in children and the cultural and individual provider issues that perpetuate unsafe care.
Patients can identify errors in their medical records that health care providers may not recognize. This news article highlights the importance of patients correcting seemingly simple mistakes such as name misspellings and phone numbers as these errors can contribute to situations that result in patient harm.
Nursing home patients are vulnerable to preventable harm due to poor safety culture, insufficient staffing levels, lack of regulation enforcement, and misaligned financial incentives. This news investigation reports on how poor practices resulted in resident harm in Pennsylvania nursing homes and discusses strategies for improvement, such as enhancing investigation processes.
This magazine article reports on the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack. Written by the patient's husband, the article outlines the failures that led to her death despite the fact that she was at the door of a hospital emergency department and on the phone with an emergency dispatcher. Factors discussed include overreliance on poorly functioning technology, communication failures, and lack of fail-safes.
Schenk EC, Bryant RA, Van Son CR, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2019;34:73-79.
Patients and families enhance safety when invited to express concerns and provide feedback about their care. Qualitative interviews of hospital staff, patients, and families highlighted both patients' and families' unique skills as safety advocates as well as barriers to speaking up. An Annual Perspective delineates tools to promote patient engagement in safety.
Meyer-Massetti C, Meier CR, Guglielmo J. Int J Clin Pharm. 2018;40:325-334.
The incidence of preventable adverse events in patients receiving home care has been found to be comparable to hospitalized patients. This review sought to characterize medication errors in home care patients and found that the most common type of medication error was the prescribing of potentially inappropriate medications to elderly patients.
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