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The focus on patient safety in the ambulatory setting was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and appropriately shifting priorities to responding to the pandemic. This piece explores some of the core themes of patient safety in the ambulatory setting, including diagnostic safety and diagnostic errors. Ways to enhance patient safety in the ambulatory care setting and next steps in ambulatory care safety are addressed. 

Lacson R, Khorasani R, Fiumara K, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e522-e527.
Root cause analysis is a commonly used tool to identify systems-related factors that contributed to an adverse event. This study assessed a system-based approach, (i.e., collaborative case reviews (CCR) co-led by radiology and an institutional patient safety program) to identify contributing factors and explore the strength of recommended actions in the radiology department at a large academic medical center. Stronger action items, such as standardization of processes, were implemented in 41% of events, and radiology had higher completion rates than other hospital departments.

Garman AN, McAlearney AS, Harrison MI, et al. Health Care Manag Rev. 2011-2020.

In this continuing series, high-performance work practices are explored and defined through literature review, case analysis, and research. The authors summarize findings and discuss how best practices can influence quality, safety, and efficiency outcomes. Topics covered include speaking up, central line infection prevention, and business case development.
A 52-year old women presented to the emergency department with a necrotizing soft tissue infection (necrotizing fasciitis) after undergoing cosmetic abdominoplasty (‘tummy tuck’) elsewhere. A lack of communication and disputes between the Emergency Medicine, Emergency General Surgery and Plastic Surgery teams about what service was responsible for the patient’s care led to delays in treatment. These delays allowed the infection to progress, ultimately requiring excision of a large area of skin and soft tissue.
This Primer provides an overview of the history and current status of the patient safety field and key definitions and concepts. It links to other Patient Safety Primers that discuss the concepts in more detail.
Farmer B. Emerg Med (N Y). 2016;48.
Emergency departments are high-risk environments due to the urgency of care needs and complexity of communication. This commentary explores challenges associated with medication administration, handoffs, discharge processes, and electronic health records in emergency medicine and recommends strategies to reduce risks.
After placing a central line in an elderly patient following a heart attack, a community hospital transferred him to a referral hospital for stenting of his coronary arteries. He was discharged to an assisted living facility 2 days later, with the central line still in place.
Following surgical repair for a hip fracture, a nursing home resident with limited mobility developed a fever. She was readmitted to the hospital, where examination revealed a very deep pressure ulcer. Despite maximal efforts, the patient developed septic shock and died.

Baker GR, ed. Healthc Q. 2010;13(Spec No):1-136.  

This is the fifth in a series of special issues devoted to exploring Canadian patient safety organizational and strategic improvement efforts. The articles highlight work related to topics including critical occurrence review, hand hygiene compliance, and effective handoffs.
At two different hospitals, patients were instructed to continue home medications, even though their medication lists had errors that could have led to significant adverse consequences.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL: The Joint Commission; November 2008.
The quality of care delivered at US hospitals continues to improve, according to data gathered by the Joint Commission from nearly 1,500 institutions. Hospitals improved their provision of evidence-based care for patients with heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia, and also improved at prevention of health care–associated infections in surgical patients. As in the 2007 report, adherence to the National Patient Safety Goals was more mixed. Although performance improved in some areas (including medication reconciliation and eliminating "do not use" abbreviations), many hospitals do not systematically perform time outs prior to procedures, or have reliable mechanisms for communicating critical test results.
Prior to surgery, an anesthesiologist and surgical physician assistant noted a patient's allergy to IV contrast dye, but no order was written. During a time out before the procedure, an operative nurse raised concern about the allergy, but the attending anesthesiologist was not present and the resident did not speak up.
Intern J Health Care Qual Assur. 2007;20(7):555-632.
This special issue includes articles by authors from Australia, Israel, France, Iran, and Belgium that explore ideas such as building a culture of safety, replacing medical equipment, and measuring safety improvements.
Following surgery, a woman on a patient-controlled analgesia pump is found to be lethargic and incoherent, with a low respiratory rate. The nurse contacted the attending physician, who dismisses the patient's symptoms and chastises the nurse for the late call.
An elderly woman was transported to CT with no medical escort and an inadequate oxygen supply. She died later that day.
Ardenne M, Reitnauer PG. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 1975;25:1369-79.
This special issue highlights Canadian experiences in several safety-related areas: culture shift in support of safety, risk identification and reduction, medication safety, change initiative strategies, and disclosure and accountability.
Ursprung R. Qual Saf Health Care. 2005;14:284-289.
This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of using a safety auditing checklist during daily work in an intensive care unit. Investigators developed a 36-item list focused on errors common to this clinical setting and implemented them into rounds on a regular basis for the 5-week study period. Results suggested the ability to detect a variety of errors while engaging staff in a blame-free fashion to stimulate immediate changes in performance. The authors advocate for greater application of safety and error prevention methods into routine clinical work as a mechanism for ongoing quality improvement.
National Health Service.
This Web site provide resources for improving patient safety in the National Health Service, including a place for practitioners to ask questions and share experiences with one another.