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Järvinen TLN, Rickert J, Lee MJ. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013-2022.

This quarterly commentary explores a wide range of subjects associated with patient safety, such as the impact of disruptive behavior on teams, the value of apologies, and safety challenges due to COVID-19. Older materials are available online for free.
Krishnan S, Wheeler KK, Pimentel MP, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;41:25-29.
Incident reporting systems are used to detect patient safety concerns and determine potential causes and opportunities for improvements. In the perioperative setting of one hospital, insufficient handoffs were the most common event type in the “coordination of care” category. Use of structured handoffs is recommended to improve communication and patient safety.
Abraham P, Augey L, Duclos A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e615-e621.
Patient misidentification errors are common and potentially catastrophic. Patient identification incidents reported in one hospital were examined to identify errors and contributory factors. Of the 293 reported incidents, the most common errors were missing wristbands, wrong charts or notes in files, administrative issues, and wrong labeling. The most frequent contributory factors include absence of patient identity control, patient transfer, and emergency context.
Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478:1179-1185.
Autopsies are an important tool for identifying diagnostic errors. This retrospective study of 821 pediatric cancer deaths found that 10% had a major diagnostic discrepancy between antemortem and postmortem diagnoses. These discrepancies primarily consisted of missed infections, missed cancer diagnoses, and organ complications.
Office of Health Care Quality. Baltimore, MD: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
This annual report summarizes never events in Maryland hospitals over the previous year. From July 2019-June 2020, reported pressure ulcers increased while treatment delays and surgery-related events decreased. The authors recommend several corrective actions to build on training and policy changes to guide improvement work, including improving team communication and use of hospital data to reduce delays.
Dadlez NM, Adelman J, Bundy DG, et al. Ped Qual Saf. 2020;5:e299-e305.
Diagnostic errors, including missed diagnoses of adolescent depression, elevated blood pressure, and delayed response to abnormal lab results, are common in pediatric primary care. Building upon previous work, this study used root cause analyses to identify the failure points and contributing factors to these errors. Omitted process steps included failure to screen for adolescent depression, failure to recognize and act on abnormal blood pressure values, and failure to notify families of abnormal lab results. Factors contributing most commonly to these errors were patient volume, inadequate staffing, clinic environment, electronic and written communication, and provider knowledge.
Kalánková D, Kirwan M, Bartoníčková D, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2020;28:1783-1797.
This scoping review assessed 44 studies to describe the scope of the evidence of the impact of missed, rationed and unfinished nursing care on patient-related outcomes; 9 of these studies focused on the impact on patient safety outcomes. The review concludes that medication errors as the biggest threat to patient safety resulting from missed, rationed or unfinished care, and that falls (with or without injury) and hospital-acquired infections are the most common resulting adverse events. These adverse events are attributed to the omission of preventive nursing care activities, such as handwashing, patient education and maintaining a safe environment.
Gunnar W, Soncrant C, Lynn MM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:255-258.
Retained surgical items (RSI) are considered ‘never events’ but continue to occur. In this study, researchers compared the RSI rate in Veterans Health (VA) surgery programs with (n=46) and without (n=91) surgical count technology and analyzed the resulting root cause analyses (RCA) for these events. The RSI rate was significantly higher in for the programs with surgical count technology compared to the programs without (1/18,221 vs. 1/30,593). Analysis of RCAs found the majority of incidents (64%) involved human factors issues (e.g., staffing changes during shifts, staff fatigue), policy/procedure failures (e.g., failure to perform methodical wound sweep) or communication errors.
Williams S, Fiumara K, Kachalia A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Saf. 2020;46:44-50.
A lack of closed-loop feedback systems has been identified as one contributor to underreporting of patient safety events. This paper describes one large academic medical center’s implementation of a Feedback to Reporter program in ambulatory care, which aimed to ensure feedback on safety reports is provided to reporting staff by managers. At baseline, 50% of staff who requested feedback ultimately received it; after three years, the rate of feedback to reporters had increased to 90%.
Harrisburg, PA: Patient Safety Authority. ISSN 2641-4716.
The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is a long-established source of patient safety data analysis and application-focused commentary. Their publishing output aims to generate improvements in their state as well as throughout health care. This open-access publication replaces the quarterly Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory newsletter.
Ellis RJ, Schlick CJR, Feinglass J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:103-112.
This retrospective study of cancer care safety examined the extent to which patients received recommended chemotherapy. A significant proportion of breast, lung, and colorectal cancer patients did not receive chemotherapy; patients who were black and those lacking health insurance or covered by Medicaid were at higher risk. There was marked variability in chemotherapy delivery by location and hospital. The authors conclude that failure to administer chemotherapy is a significant safety gap that should be addressed.
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.
Redmond P, McDowell R, Grimes TC, et al. BMJ Open. 2019;9:e024747.
This retrospective cohort study of patients age 65 and older on chronic medications found that unintentional medication discontinuation does occur following hospitalization. As with prior studies, medication documentation in hospital discharge summaries remains highly variable.
Desai S, Fiumara K, Kachalia A. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e84-e90.
Outpatient safety is gaining recognition as a focus of research and improvement efforts. This project report describes an ambulatory safety program at an academic health system that targeted reporting, safety culture measurement, medication safety, and test result management. Repeated tracking over a 5-year period revealed that failure to request feedback played a role in the modest incident and concern reporting captured by the program. Decentralizing reporting response responsibilities throughout the system significantly increased feedback activity.
Guttman OT, Lazzara EH, Keebler JR, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e1465-e1471.
Communication errors in health care are a persistent challenge to patient safety. This commentary advocates for studying behavioral, cognitive, linguistic, environmental, and technological factors to help understand barriers to effective information exchange in health care. The authors suggest that approaches targeting each set of barriers be developed and embedded into learning activities to generate lasting improvements.

Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37(11):1723-1908.

The Institute of Medicine report, To Err Is Human, marked the founding of the patient safety field. This special issue of Health Affairs, published 20 years after that report, highlights achievements and progress to date. One implementation study of evidence-based surgical safety checklists demonstrated that leadership involvement, intensive activities, and engagement of frontline staff are all critical to successful adoption of safety practices. Another study demonstrated that communication-and-resolution programs either decreased or did not affect malpractice costs, providing further support for implementing such programs. Experts describe the critical role of human factors engineering in patient safety and outline how to enhance the use of these methods. The concluding editorial by David Bates and Hardeep Singh points to progress in reducing hospital-acquired infections and improving medication safety in acute care settings and highlights remaining gaps in the areas of outpatient care, diagnostic errors, and electronic health record safety. In the related information, the Moore Foundation provides free access to five articles in this special issue.
Ai A, Desai S, Shellman A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2018;44:674-682.
This study examined ambulatory follow-up of test results by aggregating multiple types of data—national surveys on safety culture and patient satisfaction; patient complaints; safety reports; and electronic health record audits of provider response times. Researchers found an association between quicker response time for test results and higher patient satisfaction. They conclude that merging these disparate data sources can uncover new levers to improve patient safety.
Arbaje AI, Hughes A, Werner N, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:111-120.
Patients are at risk for adverse events after they transition from hospital to home. This direct observation and interview study identified significant concerns related to care transitions from hospital to home health care among patients discharged from the hospital. The study team found instances of missing and erroneous information. Information also had to be gleaned from multiple sources, and too much information could cause confusion and interfere with home health care. The authors recommend redesigning the care transition process from hospital to home health care providers in order to promote safety.
Blumenthal DM, Olenski AR, Tsugawa Y, et al. JAMA. 2017;318.
This study examined whether receiving care from locum tenens (short-term substitute) physicians in hospital internal medicine practice affects patient outcomes. The concern is that discontinuity might increase risk for adverse events. This retrospective observational cohort study of Medicare patients found no differences in 30-day mortality in those treated by locum tenens physicians compared to those who were not exposed to any substitute physicians. While costs and length of stay were higher for patients with substitute physicians, readmission rates were lower. The authors conclude that locum tenens physicians do not adversely affect safety outcomes like mortality.