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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.

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.

Calder LA, Perry J, Yan JW, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2021;77:561-574.
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: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.
Lam BD, Bourgeois FC, Dong ZJ, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:685-694.
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).  
Koo JK, Moyer L, Castello MA, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2020;5: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. 
Blazin LJ, Sitthi-Amorn J, Hoffman JM, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2020;5: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.  
Stolldorf DP, Mixon AS, Auerbach AD, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77:1135-1143.
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).
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.
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.
Mahajan P, Basu T, Pai C-W, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e200612.
Using data from a large commercial insurance claims database, this cohort study sought to identify factors associated with potentially missed appendicitis by comparing patients with a potentially missed diagnosis versus patients diagnosed with appendicitis on the same day in the emergency department. The researchers estimated the frequency of missed appendicitis was 6% among adults and 4.4% among children. Patients presenting with abdominal pain and constipation were more likely to have a missed diagnosis of appendicitis than patients presenting with isolated abdominal pain or abdominal pain with nausea and/or vomiting. Stratified analyses based on undifferentiated symptoms found that women and patients with comorbidities were more likely to have missed appendicitis.
Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; December 18, 2019.
Maternal care during and after childbirth is at risk for never events including retained foreign objects. This analysis of a sentinel event involving a retained surgical tampon after childbirth discusses communication, fatigue, and process factors that contributed to the incident. The report suggests improved handoffs as one improvement strategy.
Denson JL, Knoeckel J, Kjerengtroen S, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;29:250-259.
Handoffs are a vulnerable time for patients in which inadequate communication between providers can contribute to adverse outcomes; end-of-rotation handoffs have been found to put patients at even greater risk. Standardizing handoffs has been shown to improve patient safety. This single-center pilot study examined the impact of an ICU handoff intervention consisting of an in-person bedside handoff, a checklist, nursing involvement, and an education session. The authors found that the intervention was feasible to implement with high fidelity and did not improve length of stay or mortality.
Two different patients were seen in the emergency department a history of excessive alcohol consumption and suicidal ideation along with other medical comorbidities. In both cases, acute medical conditions prevented a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation being completed by psychiatric emergency services. Unfortunately, both patients were discharged after resolution of their medical conditions and were later found dead.
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.
O'Toole JK, Starmer AJ, Calaman S, et al. MedEdPORTAL. 2018;14:10736.
The I-PASS structured handoff tool intends to reduce errors and preventable adverse events. This article describes the development of the I-PASS Mentored Implementation Guide. The guide was considered by I-PASS sites essential, particularly the sections on the I-PASS curriculum and handoff observations.
Seen in the emergency department, a man with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus had not taken insulin for 3 days. His blood glucose levels were in the 800s with an anion-gap acidosis and positive beta hydroxybutyrate. While awaiting an ICU bed for treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis, the patient received fluids, an insulin drip was started, and blood glucose levels were monitored hourly. When lab results showed he was improving, the team decided to convert his insulin drip to subcutaneous long-acting insulin.
Larson LA, Finley JL, Gross TL, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:74-80.
Workplace violence in the health care setting is common and poses an ongoing risk for providers and staff. The Joint Commission issued a sentinel event alert to raise awareness about the risks associated with physical and verbal violence against health care workers and suggests numerous strategies organizations can use to address the problem, including establishing reporting systems and developing quality improvement interventions. The authors describe a quality improvement initiative involving the development and iterative testing of a huddle handoff tool to optimize communication between the emergency department (ED) and an admitting unit regarding patients with the potential for violent behavior. The huddle tool led to improved perceptions of safety during the patient transfer process by both the ED nurses and the admitting medical units. An accompanying editorial highlights the importance of taking a systems approach to address workplace safety. A PSNet perspective explored how a medical center developed a process to identify, prioritize, and mitigate hazards in health care settings.
When patients in two cases did not receive complete preanesthetic evaluation, problems with intubation ensued. In the first case, an anesthesiologist went to evaluate a morbidly obese patient scheduled for hysteroscopy. As the patient was donning her hospital gown behind a closed curtain, he waited but left without performing the preoperative assessment because the morning surgery list was overbooked and he had many other patients to see. Once in the operating room, he discovered on chart review that the woman had a history of gastroesophageal reflux.