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Sosa T, Mayer B, Chakkalakkal B, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2022;12(1):37-46.
Many medications and medical devices can result in preventable harm in pediatric patients. This article describes one hospital’s efforts to implement explicit, structured processes and huddles to increase situational awareness regarding high-risk therapies among the care team and family members. After implementation, the percentage of electronic health record (EHR) alerts correctly describing high-risk therapies increased from 11% to 96%.

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.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Stratification Tool for Opioid Risk Mitigation (STORM) decision support system and targeted prevention program were designed to help mitigate risk factors for overdose and suicide among veterans who are prescribed opioids and/or with opioid use disorder (OUD) and are served by the VHA.1 Veterans, particularly those prescribed opioids, experience overdose and suicide events at roughly twice the rate of the general population.1,2

The STORM decision support system uses data extracted from VHA electronic medical records and predictive analytics to facilitate the identification of patients at high risk of experiencing overdose and suicide events. The STORM decision support system can also review risk factors for patients who are being considered for prescription opioid therapy. STORM prioritizes patients for monitoring and intervention according to their modeled risk and aids clinicians by displaying a patient’s risk factors and associated evidence-based risk mitigation interventions. Note that the target population does not include patients with OUD in medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Many patients with OUD and/or in prescription opioid therapy have complex medical and psychosocial needs (e.g., painful conditions, mental health challenges), resulting in interactions with multiple care providers. To address the complexity of a patient’s case, STORM aims to provide a holistic intervention that includes multiple care providers and accounts for multiple parts of the patient’s history and medical profile.3 Under the STORM-based targeted prevention program, an interdisciplinary team of clinicians, including those with expertise in pain and behavioral health, conduct case reviews for patients identified to be at the highest risk of overdose and/or suicide and implement treatment changes or share recommendations with the patients‘ providers.

The VHA completed a three-year randomized program evaluation of the implementation of the national STORM-based targeted prevention program. Preliminary results indicate that mandating that very high-risk patients receive an interdisciplinary review was associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality among identified patients in the 127 days after identification by the decision support system.4

The STORM decision support system and targeted prevention program were developed and implemented in the context of relatively high rates of opioid prescribing to veterans and overall rising opioid-involved overdose mortality in the U.S. population. In the last 10 years, overdose deaths have more than doubled in the United States.5 As one response to the problem, the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act requires the VHA to improve opioid therapy strategies and to ensure responsible prescribing practices. STORM is one of several VHA overdose prevention initiatives that include the distribution of naloxone, efforts to reduce opioid prescribing, and introduction of pain management clinical review and support teams.5

Kemp T, Butler‐Henderson K, Allen P, et al. Health Info Libr J. 2021;38(4):248-258.
This review focused on the impact of the Health Information Management (HIM) profession on patient safety as it relates to health information documentation. Key themes identified were data quality, information governance, corporate governance, skills, and knowledge required for HIM professionals.
Blease CR, Kharko A, Hägglund M, et al. PLoS ONE. 2021;16(10):e0258056.
Allowing patients to access their own ambulatory clinical health record has benefits such as identification of errors and increased trust. This study focused on risks and benefits of patient access to mental health care records. Experts suggested the benefits would be similar to those seen in primary care, such as increased patient engagement, with the potential additional benefit of reduced stigmatization.
Duzyj CM, Boyle C, Mahoney K, et al. Am J Perinatol. 2021;38(12):1281-1288.
Pregnancy and childbirth are recognized as high-risk activities for both the pregnant person and infant. This article describes the implementation of a postpartum hemorrhage patient safety bundle. Successes, challenges and recommendations for implementation are included.
Hofer IS, Cheng D, Grogan T. Anesth Analg. 2021;133(3):698-706.
Anesthesia-related adverse events have been associated with increased length of stay, morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the effect of missed documentation of select comorbidities on postoperative length of stay and mortality. Results indicate that missed documentation of one of the comorbid conditions increased risk of length of stay, and mortality was increased with missed atrial fibrillation.

This case describes multiple emergency department (ED) encounters and hospitalizations experienced by a middle-aged woman with sickle cell crisis and a past history of multiple, long admissions related to her sickle cell disease. The multiple encounters highlight the challenges of opioid prescribing for patients with chronic, non-cancer pain.

Shervani S, Madden W, Gleason LJ. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181(10):1383-1384.
Prior research has found that electronic health record systems (EHRs) cannot effectively communicate medication discontinuation instructions to pharmacies. This “teachable moment” commentary highlights this issue with EHR and pharmacy system interoperability which resulted in the inadvertent dispensing of a discontinued medication. A related commentary discusses the challenges associated with attempting to discontinue prescriptions and how the CancelRx system can help mitigate these challenges.

Mirtallo JM, Ayers P. Pharmacy Practice News. September 7, 2021;48(9):17-20.

Parenteral nutrition (PN) processes contain various steps that are prone to errors resulting in patient harm. This article discusses standardization as a strategy to reduce the potential for missteps and shares resources for process evaluation to improve PN reliability and safety.

Ensuring maternal safety is a patient safety priority. This library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on improving maternal safety. Included resources explore strategies with the potential to improve maternal care delivery and outcomes, such as high reliability, care standardization, teamwork, unit-based safety initiatives, and trigger tools.

Watterson TL, Stone JA, Brown RL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28(7):1526-1533.
Prior research has found that ambulatory electronic health records cannot communicate medication discontinuation instructions to pharmacies. In this study, the implementation of the CancelRx system led to a significant, sustained increase in successful medication discontinuations and reduced the time between medication discontinuation in the clinic EHR and pharmacy dispensing software.
Morris AH, Stagg B, Lanspa M, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28(6):1330-1344.
Clinical decision support systems are designed to improve clinical decision-making. The authors of this commentary suggest an alternative, eActions, to reduce clinician burden and increase replicability. Dissemination and use of eActions could contribute to improved clinical care quality and research.
Allison MK, Marshall SA, Stewart G, et al. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2021;61(4):396-405.
Transgender and gender nonbinary (trans/NB) people can face discriminatory behaviors when accessing health care services. Trans/NB patients were interviewed about their experiences accessing care in emergency departments. Four themes were uncovered: 1) system and structural issues; 2) interactions with clinicians/staff; 3) perceptions of clinician knowledge and education; and 4) impact on future health and healthcare access. Recommendations for improvement were provided at the system and clinician level.
Udeh C, Canfield C, Briskin I, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28(8):1791-1795.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems have the potential to reduce error, but their poor CPOE design, implementation and use can contribute to patient safety risks. In this study, researchers found that restricting the number of concurrently open electronic health records did not significantly reduce wrong patient selection errors in their hospital’s CPOE system.
Adams KT, Pruitt Z, Kazi S, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):e988-e994.
It is important to consider unintended consequences when implementing new tools, such as health information technology (HIT). This study reviewed 2,700 patient safety event reports to identify the type of medication error, the stage in the process in which the error occurred, and how HIT usability issues contributed to the errors. Errors in dosing were the most frequent type, and occurred during ordering or reviewing. Most errors described usability issues which should be considered and addressed to improve medication safety.
Cifra CL, Sittig DF, Singh H. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30(7):591-597.
Accurate and timely feedback about patient outcomes can inform and improve future clinical decision-making; however, many barriers exist that prevent effective feedback. This article suggests a sociotechnical approach using information technology (IT) to provide clinician feedback. Feedback sent using the electronic health record can be provided asynchronously, by any member of the care team, and in a structured format to ensure relevance and usefulness.
Le Cornu E, Murray S, Brown EJ, et al. J Med Radiat Sci. 2021;68(4):356-363.
Use of health information technology (HIT) can improve care but also lead to unexpected patient harm. In this analysis of incidents and near misses in radiation oncology, a major change in the use of the electronic health record (EHR) led to an increase in reported incidents and near misses. Leaders and HIT professionals should be aware of potential issues and develop a plan to minimize risk prior to major departmental changed including EHR changes.
Walters GK. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(4):e264-e267.
The majority of preventable adverse events are multifactorial in nature and are a result of system failures. Using a case study, the authors outline a series of errors following misplacement of a PICC line. Failures include differences in recording electronic health record notes and communication between providers. Investigations of all adverse events will help identify and correct system failures to improve patient safety.