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The PSNet Collection: All Content

The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 191 Results
Perspective on Safety November 16, 2022

Dr. Pascale Carayon, PhD, is a professor emerita in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the founding director of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthcare Systems Engineering (WIHSE). Dr. Nicole Werner, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Wellness Design at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington. We spoke with both of them about the role of human factors engineering has in improving healthcare delivery and its role in patient safety.

WebM&M Case September 28, 2022

This case describes a 20-year-old woman was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism and occlusive thrombus in the right brachial vein surrounding a  peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line (type, gauge, and length of time the PICC had been in place were not noted). The patient was discharged home but was not given any supplies for cleaning the PICC line, education regarding the signs of PICC line infection, or referral to home health services.

Perspective on Safety August 5, 2022

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. 

Curated Libraries
September 13, 2021
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...
Muhrer JC. Nurs Pract. 2021;46:44-49.
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;28:685-694.
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).  
WebM&M Case April 29, 2020
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.
WebM&M Case November 27, 2019
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.
Patient Safety Primer September 7, 2019
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.
Dinsdale E, Hannigan A, O’Connor R, et al. Fam Pract. 2019;17:63-68.
Clear communication between primary care physicians and the providers to whom they refer patients has important implications for achieving accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plans for patients. In this observational study, researchers included 6603 patients from 68 general medical practices in Ireland, randomly selecting 100 patients from each practice and excluding patients without complete records. They analyzed referral documentation and responses received from subspecialists as well as discharge summaries from hospitalizations over a 2-year period, compared with established national standards. Although 82% of referral letters included current medications, only 30% of response letters and discharge summaries contained medication changes and 33% had medication lists. The authors conclude that significant communication gaps exist between primary and secondary care and that further research is needed to understand how to address them. A past PSNet perspective discussed challenges associated with care transitions.
Kapoor A, Field T, Handler S, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179:1254-1261.
Transitions from hospitals to long-term care facilities are associated with safety hazards. This prospective cohort study identified adverse events in the 45 days following acute hospitalization among 555 nursing home residents, which included 762 discharges during the study period. Investigators found that adverse events occurred after approximately half of discharges. Common adverse events included falls, pressure ulcers, health care–associated infections, and adverse drug events. Most adverse events were deemed preventable or ameliorable. The authors conclude that improved communication and coordination between discharging hospitals and receiving long term-care facilities are urgently needed to address this patient safety gap. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed challenges of nursing home care that may contribute to adverse events.
Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2019.
Reducing adverse medication events is a worldwide challenge. This collection of technical reports explores key areas of concern that require action at a system level to improve: high-alert medications, polypharmacy, and medication use at care transitions. Each monograph provides an overview of the topic as well as practical improvement approaches for patients, clinicians, and organizations.
WebM&M Case March 1, 2019
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.
Triller D, Myrka A, Gassler J, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2018;44:630-640.
Patients prescribed high-risk medications, including anticoagulants, are at increased risk for adverse drug events and may be particularly vulnerable during care transitions. This study describes how a multidisciplinary panel of anticoagulation experts used an iterative consensus-building process to determine what information should be communicated to relevant providers for all patients on anticoagulation undergoing a transition in care.
WebM&M Case November 1, 2018
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.
Schnipper JL, Mixon A, Stein J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:954-964.
The goal of medication reconciliation is to prevent unintended medication discrepancies at times of transitions in care, which can lead to adverse events. Implementing effective medication reconciliation interventions has proven to be challenging. In this AHRQ-funded quality improvement study, five hospitals implemented a standardized approach to admission and discharge medication reconciliation using an evidence-based toolkit with longitudinal mentorship from the study investigators. The toolkit was implemented at each study site by a pharmacist and a hospitalist with support from local leadership. The intervention did not achieve overall reduction in potentially harmful medication discrepancies compared to baseline temporal trends. However, significant differences existed between the study sites, with sites that successfully implemented the recommended interventions being more likely to achieve reductions in harmful medication discrepancies. The study highlights the difficulty inherent in implementing quality improvement interventions in real-world settings. A WebM&M commentary discussed the importance of medication reconciliation and suggested best practices.
Destino LA, Dixit A, Pantaleoni JL, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017;43:80-88.
Adverse events after hospital discharge are common. Prior research demonstrates that communication and information transfer between inpatient providers and primary care physicians (PCPs) may be lacking, raising patient safety concerns. This study described how applying Lean methodology, enhancing frontline provider engagement, and redesigning workflow processes within the electronic health record led to improved communication with PCPs around the time of hospital discharge. Through these interventions, the pediatric medical service was able to increase verbal communication with PCPs at discharge to 80%, and they sustained this for a 7-month period. Discharge communication with PCPs across other services improved as well. A previous PSNet perspective discussed the challenges associated with care transitions and suggested opportunities for improvement.