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This case involves a 2-year-old girl with acute myelogenous leukemia and thrombocytopenia (platelet count 26,000 per microliter) who underwent implantation of a central venous catheter with a subcutaneous port. The anesthetist asked the surgeon to order a platelet transfusion to increase the child’s platelet count to above 50,000 per microliter. In the post-anesthesia care unit, the patient’s arterial blood pressure started fluctuating and she developed cardiac arrest.

The Revised Safer Dx Instrument provides a standardized list of questions to help users retrospectively identify and assess the likelihood of a missed diagnosis in a healthcare episode. Results of the assessment are intended for use in system-level safety improvement efforts, clinician feedback, and patient safety research.

The instrument consists of a series of questions that address five aspects of the diagnostic process: (1) the patient-provider encounter (history, physical examination, ordering tests/referrals based on assessment); (2) performance and interpretation of diagnostic tests; (3) follow-up and tracking of diagnostic information over time; (4) subspecialty and referral-specific factors; and (5) patient-related factors.1 To answer the questions, the evaluator collects data from comprehensive electronic health records including information on a patient’s medical history, examination information, diagnostic test interpretation, and follow-up testing and diagnostic assessment. If the assessment indicates there was a likely diagnostic error (defined as a missed opportunity in diagnosis), users have the option to complete an additional process breakdown assessment as a guide designed to help identify factors contributing to the potential missed opportunity.

The original tool, the Safer Dx Instrument, was validated in a primary care setting, and results were published in 2016. In this study, the instrument yielded overall accuracy of 84%.2 A study published in 2017 on use of the tool in a pediatric intensive care unit found the tool had inter-rater agreement of 93.6% (k, 0.72).3 The project team made minor revisions to the original tool to address feedback from the pilot studies, as well as from several national experts. Since the release of the revised iteration of the tool (i.e., the Revised Safer Dx Instrument), use of condition-specific adaptations of the tool (e.g., Safer Stroke Dx) have found it to yield accurate results.4,5

For the best results, the project team suggests having multiple reviewers complete the assessment and discuss findings. Additionally, sites that wish to implement the tool may benefit from an existing safety environment that is supportive, with elements such as a patient safety culture, existing safety programs, and adequate staffing resources to implement the tool, including a multidisciplinary team with a dedicated safety analyst.

Cohen M, Degnan D, McDonnell P, eds. Patient Saf. 2022;4(s1):1-45

Pharmacists play a unique role in patient safety that educational methods are shifting to address. This special issue covers several topics including strategies to reduce the susceptibility of hospitalized infants and children to medication errors, and infusing safety culture into pharmacy school curriculum.
Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.
Diagnostic error is garnering increased attention as a key area of focus in patient safety improvement. This fellowship program for physicians who have completed their residency will provide the opportunity to build expertise in enhancing diagnostic safety. The application process for the 2022-2023 program closes on March 8. 2022.
Vaughan CP, Hwang U, Vandenberg AE, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10(4):e001369.
Prescribing potentially inappropriate medications (such as antihistamines, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxants) can lead to adverse health outcomes. The Enhancing Quality of Prescribing Practices for Older Adults in the Emergency Department (EQUIPPED) program is a multicomponent intervention intended to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing among older adults who are discharged from the emergency department. Twelve months after implementation at three academic health systems, the EQUIPPED program significantly reduced overall potentially inappropriate prescribing at one site; the proportion of benzodiazepine prescriptions decreased across all sites.
Brush JE, Sherbino J, Norman GR. BMJ. 2022;Epub Jan 7.
Misdiagnosis of heart failure can lead to serious patient harm. This article reviews the cognitive psychology of diagnostic reasoning in cardiology. Strategies for educators, students, and researchers to reduce cardiovascular misdiagnosis are presented.

Croke L. Guideline for prevention of unintentionally retained surgical items. AORN J. 2021;114(6):4-6. doi: 

Retained surgical items (RSI) are a never event, yet they continue to happen. This commentary summarizes recent changes to an existing guidance that defines a range of retained devices or products to coalesce with industry terminology. The author shares steps to reduce the potential for RSI retention. A related webinar will be held February 2, 2022.
Hammond Mobilio M, Paradis E, Moulton C-A. Am J Surg. 2021;Epub Nov 24.
Surgical safety checklists (SSC) have been adopted around the world, but reported compliance rates and use in practice vary widely. This study in one Canadian hospital showed the SSC was used in 82% of Briefings, 76% of Time-Outs, and 22% of Debriefings. Gaps between policy and practice were identified and implications for policy makers, administrators, frontline clinicians, and researchers are discussed.

The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety improvement strategies, and resources for design.

Al Rowily A, Jalal Z, Price MJ, et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2021;Epub Dec 22.
Although direct acting oral anticoagulants (DAOCs) are generally considered safer than older anticoagulants, they are still high-risk medications. This review found that between 5.3% and 37.3% of patients experienced either a prescription, administration, or dosing error. Prescribing errors constituted the majority of error types, and common causes were active failures, including wrong drug or wrong dose.
Linzer M, Neprash HT, Brown RL, et al. Ann Fam Med. 2021;19(6):521-526.
Using data from the Healthy Work Place trial, this study explored characteristics associated with high clinician and patient trust. Findings suggest that trust is higher when clinicians perceived their organizational cultures as emphasizing quality, communication and information, cohesiveness, and value alignment between clinicians and leaders.
Montero-Odasso MM, Kamkar N, Pieruccini-Faria F, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(12):e2138911.
Fall prevention in healthcare settings is a patient safety priority. This systematic review found that most clinical practice guidelines provide consistent recommendations for fall prevention for older adults. Guidelines consistently recommend strategies such as risk stratification, medication review, and environment modification.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Medication Safety Alerts. January 3, 2022.

Emerging care practices can produce unsafe situations due to the newness of the approaches involved. This alert highlights safety considerations with an oral antiretroviral COVID treatment that include medication administration problems. Safety recommendations are provided for prescribers and pharmacists.