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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.

The Patient Safe-D(ischarge) program used standardized tools to educate patients about their discharge needs, test understanding of those needs, and improve medication reconciliation at admission and discharge. A quasi-randomized controlled trial of the program found that it significantly increased patients' understanding and knowledge of their diagnoses, treatment, and required follow-up care. Based on the success of this test, Patient Safe-D was incorporated as part of the Society of Hospital Medicine's Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safe Transitions) initiative which uses medication reconciliation, teach back and the Discharge Patient Education Tool (DPET) to help reduce medication-related errors. BOOST provides a full implementation toolkit to help institutions implement this and other programs to improve discharge education.

Calder LA, Perry J, Yan JW, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2021;77(6):561-574.
Prior research has found that some patients may be at risk for adverse events after discharge from the emergency department (ED). This cohort study analyzed adverse events occurring among patients discharged from the ED with cardiovascular conditions and identified several opportunities for improving safe care, such as adherence to evidence-based clinical guidelines and strengthening dual diagnosis detection.
Richmond RT, McFadzean IJ, Vallabhaneni P. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10(1):e001142.
Timely completion of discharge summaries can improve handoffs with outpatient physicians and ensure communication of potential patient safety problems. This quality improvement project used an established change model to improve the rate of discharge summary completed within 24 hours from less than 10%, to 84% within 2 months.
Muhrer JC. Nurs Pract. 2021;46(2):44-49.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to wide-ranging changes to health care delivery, some of which may negatively impact patient outcomes.The authors use a syndemic perspective to discuss existing challenges interfering with diagnosis (structural, socioeconomic, patient-related, and provider-related), how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated those challenges, and strategies related to nurse practitioners and community health workers to improve diagnosis.  
Lam BD, Bourgeois FC, Dong ZJ, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28(4):685-694.
Providing patients access to their medical records can improve patient engagement and error identification. A survey of patients and families found that about half of adult patients and pediatric families who perceived a serious mistake in their ambulatory care notes reported it, but identified several barriers to reporting (e.g. no clear reporting mechanism, lack of perceived support).  
Mangrum R, Stewart MD, Gifford DR, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020;21(11):1587-1591.e2.
Building upon earlier work, the authors engaged a technical expert panel to reach consensus on a definition for omissions of care in nursing homes. The article details the terms and concepts included in (and excluded from) the proposed definition, provides examples of omissions of care, intended uses (e.g., to guide quality improvement activities or training and education), and describes the implications of the definition for clinical practice, policy, and research.  
Koo JK, Moyer L, Castello MA, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2020;5(4):e329.
Children are highly vulnerable to safety risks associated with written handoffs. This article describes the impact of unit-wide implementation of a new handoff tool using electronic health record (EHR) auto-populated fields for pertinent neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient data. Handoff time remained the same, and the tool increased the accuracy of patient data included in handoffs and reduced the frequency of incorrect medications listing. 

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.
Blazin LJ, Sitthi-Amorn J, Hoffman JM, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2020;5(4):e323.
This article describes one pediatric hospital’s experience adapting and implementing the I-PASS handoff program for inpatient nursing bedside report, physician handoff, and imaging/procedures handoff.  The project demonstrates that I-PASS can be successfully used across a hospital system in various settings to reduce handoff-related errors.  
Lindblad M, Unbeck M, Nilsson L, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2020;20(1):289.
This study used a trigger tool to retrospectively identify and characterize no-harm incidents affecting adult patients in home healthcare settings in Sweden. The most common incidents identified by the trigger tool were falls without injury, medication management incidents, and moderate pain. Common contributing factors included delayed, erroneous, or incomplete nursing care and treatment.
Stolldorf DP, Mixon AS, Auerbach AD, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77(14):1135-1143.
This mixed-methods study assessed the barriers and facilitators to hospitals’ implementation of the MARQUIS toolkit, which supports hospitals in developing medication reconciliation programs. Leadership who responded to the survey/interview expressed limited institutional budgetary and hiring support, but hospitals were able to implement and sustain the toolkit by shifting staff responsibilities, adding pharmacy staff, and using a range of implementation strategies (e.g., educational tools for staff, EHR templates).
Jarrett T, Cochran J, Baus A. J Nurs Care Qual. 2020;35(3):233-239.
The Medications at Transitions and Clinical Handoffs Toolkit (MATCH) provides strategies to implement and improve medication reconciliation in healthcare. This article describes the implementation of MATCH in a rural primary care clinic and the resulting improvements in medication reconciliation workflows.

Social worker/nurse practitioner teams collaborate with a larger interdisciplinary team and primary care physicians to develop and implement individualized care plans for seniors and other high-risk patients. The social worker/nurse practitioner team also proactively manages and coordinates the patient's care on an ongoing basis through regular telephone and in-person contact with both patients and providers. The program, known as Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE), improved the provision of evidence-based care; led to significant improvements in measures of general health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health; reduced emergency department visits, hospital admissions, readmissions, and total bed days; and generated high levels of physician and patient satisfaction. These successes have been across a variety of health system contexts, including: a VA medical center, primary care health centers, and as a part of a Medicare Advantage plan. A recent analysis found that the reduction in service usage saved the VA medical center $200k per year for the 179 veterans enrolled in GRACE. Another analysis in primary care health centers found that the program was cost neutral for high-risk patients in the first 2 years, and yielded savings by year 3.

The program was initially designed to serve low-income seniors, but has subsequently been replicated with different populations, including adults of all ages who are high risk, Medicare beneficiaries who are 70+ with multiple comorbidities, and older veterans following an emergent hospital admission and discharge home.

Formerly known as the Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) High-Risk Pregnancy Program links clinicians and patients across the state with UAMS, where the vast majority of the state's high-risk pregnancy services, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and prenatal genetic counselors are located. The program facilitates real-time telehealth consultation for patients, local physicians, and medical center specialists through a statewide telemedicine network; develops and disseminates guidelines to foster the use of best practices by obstetric providers across the state; and facilitates appropriate referrals to the medical center for tertiary care through a 24/7 patient/provider call center. The program has enhanced access to specialty perinatal care, including maternal-fetal medicine consultations and tertiary level obstetric care, which, in turn, has reduced complications, generated cost savings to the state Medicaid program, and led to high levels of patient satisfaction. The High-Risk Pregnancy Program has reduced Arkansas' 60-day infant mortality rate by 0.5 percent due to increasing the proportion of low-birthweight infants delivered at the medical center.

See the Description section for information about number of guidelines and new services; the References section for one new source of information; the Results section for updated information about consultations, guidelines, and website activity; and the Resources section for updated staffing information.

The Support and Services at Home (SASH®) program provides onsite assistance to help senior citizens (and other Medicare beneficiaries) remain in their homes as they age. Using evidence-based practices, a multidisciplinary, onsite team conducts an initial health assessment, creates an individualized care plan based on each participant’s self-identified goals, provides onsite nursing and care coordination with local partners, and schedules community activities to support health and wellness. A multi-year evaluation of the program found that total Medicare expenditures per SASH participant were $1,100-$1,450 lower per year compared to their non-SASH peers. It also found that participants were less likely to report issues with medication self-management compared to non-participants, and that Medicaid expenditures for long-term care for a subset of SASH participants were $400 less per person per year.

Pfeiffer Y, Zimmermann C, Schwappach DLB. J Patient Saf. 2020;Publish Ahead of Print.
This study examined patient safety issues stemming from health information technology (HIT)-related information management hazards. The authors identified eleven thematic groups describing such hazards occurring at a systemic level, such as fragmentation of patient information, “information islands” (e.g., nurses and physicians have separate information sets despite the same HIT system), and inadequate information structures (e.g., no drug interaction warning integrated in the chemotherapy prescribing tool).
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.
Malterud K, Aamland A, Fosse A. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2020;38.
Using qualitative analysis, this study explored the experiences of general practitioners in Norway with horizontal task shifting (defined as tasks shifted between equivalent professionals, such as hospital specialists and other specialists) and whether task shifting increased patient safety risks. The study identified several types of adverse events associated with horizontal task shifting, such as delays in diagnosis, overdiagnosis, and reduced access to care.
Anderson JE, Ross AJ, Back J, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020.
Using ethnographic methods and resilient healthcare principles (described as systems that anticipate future demands, respond to current demands, monitor for emergent problems and learn from results, both positive and negative), the researchers interviewed and observed staff in emergency departments (EDs) and geriatric wards in one teaching hospital in London to identify system vulnerabilities to target with quality improvement interventions. The observations and interviews revealed difficulties with discharge planning and information integration as priority areas.