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Kritz F. Shots. National Public Radio; May 24, 2021.

Health literacy efforts address challenges related to both language and effective communication tactics. This story discussed how lack of language and information clarity reduced patient education effectiveness during the pandemic and highlights several efforts to address them including information product translation services.

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.
Gallagher R, Passmore MJ, Baldwin C. Med Hypotheses. 2020;142:109727.
The authors of this article suggest that offering palliative care services earlier should be considered a patient safety issue. They highlight three cases in which patients in Canada requested medical assistance in dying (MAiD). The patients in two of the cases were never offered palliative care services, and this could be considered a medical error – had they been offered palliative care services, they may have changed their mind about MAiD, as did the patient in the third case study.
Arbaje AI, Werner NE, Kasda EM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:52-57.
Patients are at risk for adverse events after they transition from hospital to home. This study used review of malpractice claims and stakeholder focus groups to inform planning tools for postdischarge care transitions. Pilot testing of the tools demonstrated acceptability and feasibility for patients and providers. These results suggest that malpractice data can inform safety improvement approaches.
Stall NM, Fischer HD, Wu F, et al. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015;94:e899.
This study established that unintentional medication discontinuation upon nursing home admission decreased over time, though this improvement could not be attributed to accreditation requirements for medication reconciliation or any other specific intervention. This study highlights the challenge of attributing safety improvements to specific policy or practice changes.
Foy R, Hempel S, Rubenstein L, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152:247-58.
This meta-analysis found that interactive communication between collaborating primary care providers and specialists (psychiatrists and endocrinologists in this study) is associated with improved patient outcomes. The interactive communication methods included joint consultations, scheduled phone discussions, and shared documentation, with the authors suggesting a need for changes in reimbursement models to support such interventions.
Cheung DS, Kelly JJ, Beach C, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2010;55:171-80.
Reviewing the conceptual framework for handoffs in emergency departments, this article analyzes obstacles and potential errors, discusses models for effective patient transitions, and provides strategies for enhancing handoffs and measuring outcomes.
Tjia J, Bonner A, Briesacher BA, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24:630-5.
Patients transferred from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are vulnerable to medication errors, as they are often elderly, have multiple chronic illnesses, and take multiple medications. In this study, medication discrepancies (among the hospital discharge summary, SNF referral form, and SNF admission orders) were the rule rather than the exception. Most concerning, many discrepancies involved high-risk medications such as opioid analgesics, anticoagulants, and hypoglycemic agents, which have been linked to serious medication errors in elderly patients. While The Joint Commission has mandated medication reconciliation for long-term care facilities as part of the 2009 National Patient Safety Goals, the authors note that many SNFs do not maintain Joint Commission accreditation, implying that state or national regulations may be needed to improve medication safety across the hospital–SNF transition.
Dean Schillinger, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco, Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, and Chief of the California Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. His role as a practicing clinician at a safety net hospital (San Francisco General Hospital) has put him in a unique position to pursue influential and relevant research related to health literacy and improving care for vulnerable populations.
Interrupted during a telephone handoff, an ED physician, despite limited information, must treat a patient in respiratory arrest. The patient is stabilized and transferred to the ICU with a presumed diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia and septic shock. Later, ICU physicians obtain further history that leads to the correct diagnosis: pulmonary embolism.