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Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. January 5, 2021. Report No. 20-01521-48.

 

This investigation examined care coordination, screening and other factors that contributed to a patient death by suicide shortly after discharge from a Veteran’s Hospital. Event reporting, disclosure and evaluation gaps were identified as process weaknesses to be addressed. 
Erkelens DC, Rutten FH, Wouters LT, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:40-45.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment during after-hours care pose serious threats to patient safety. This case-control study compared missed acute coronary syndrome (ACS) cases to other cases with chest discomfort occurring during out-of-hours services in primary care. Predictors of missed ACS included the use of cardiovascular medication, non-retrosternal chest pain, and consultation of the supervising general practitioner.   
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).  
Meisenberg B, Zaidi S, Franks L, et al. J Hosp Med. 2019;14:716-718.
Advanced Directives (AD) and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Therapy (POLST) are intended to improve end-of-life care by ensuring that patient's wishes are honored by health care providers. This perspective presents two cases in which preventable errors allowed for the use of unwanted life-sustaining therapies. Root cause analyses for these cases found that haste, inadequate communication, EMR discrepancies, knowledge deficits contributed to these errors. 
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.
National Pharmacy Association; NPA.
This website for independent community pharmacy owners across the United Kingdom features both free and members-only guidance, reporting platforms, and document templates to support patient safety. It includes reporting tools and incident analysis reports for providers in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Topics covered in the communications include look-alike and sound-alike drugs, patient safety audits, and safe dispensing of liquid medications.
Cullen A. Uitgeverij van Brug: The Hague, The Netherlands; 2019. ISBN: 9789065232236.
Patient stories offer important insights regarding the impact medical errors have on patients and their families. This book shares the author's experience with medical error and spotlights how lack of transparency in European health care can contribute to avoidable process failures that result in patient harm.
Umberfield E, Ghaferi AA, Krein SL, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:406-413.
Communication failures are a common underlying factor in adverse events. Although the relationship between communication failures and safety has been best studied in the operating room, this issue likely contributes to safety problems in all settings of care. Investigators examined incident reports at an academic medical center to characterize how communication problems contribute to adverse events. Errors of purpose—a type of error in which the goals of the communication event remain unresolved, implying that situational awareness was not achieved—were among the most common types of communication problems identified. The authors point out that while structured communication tools (such as the I-PASS handoff tool) can improve the accuracy and completeness of information transfer, they are not well suited to improving communication in clinically ambiguous situations. Communication problems most often led to delays in care without physical harm, highlighting the difficulty of measuring communication issues compared to other types of safety events. A WebM&M commentary discussed a series of communication errors that led to a child's death.
London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; 2017. ISBN: 9781528601344.
Patients with mental health conditions face particular safety challenges. This report describes incidents involving patients with eating disorders who experienced harm while receiving care in National Health Service organizations. Factors that contributed to the failures included poor care coordination, premature discharge, and lack of monitoring. The report discusses gaps in the investigations of these patient deaths and outlines areas of improvement.
Hospitalized with sepsis secondary to an infected IV line through which she was receiving treprostnil (a high-alert medication used to treat pulmonary hypertension), a woman was transferred to interventional radiology for placement of a new permanent catheter once the infection cleared. Sign-off between departments included a warning not to flush the line since it would lead to a dangerous overdose. However, while attempting to identify an infusion pump alarm, a radiology technician accidentally flushed the line, which led to a near code situation.
Alabdali A, Fisher JD, Trivedy C, et al. Air Med J. 2017;36:116-121.
Interfacility transport of critically ill patients may be performed by physician-led teams or by paramedics without direct physician involvement. This systematic review attempted to determine if transport by paramedics alone was safe for patients, but researchers found only a small number of studies with limited characterization of the types of adverse events encountered in this situation.
Novis DA, Lindholm PF, Ramsey G, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2017;141:255-259.
The rate of mislabeled blood samples in hospital laboratories did not improve significantly between 2007 and 2015, despite widespread implementation of barcoding and other safety methods during that time period. An error associated with a mislabeled blood sample is discussed in a past WebM&M commentary.
van Galen LS, Struik PW, Driesen BEJM, et al. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0161393.
Unplanned transfers of hospitalized patients to the intensive care unit are often considered a safety issue. This root cause analysis of consecutive unplanned intensive care unit admissions found that the most frequent cause was insufficient patient monitoring by nurses. In many cases, vital signs were not monitored as specified by treating physicians.
Lyndon A, Johnson C, Bingham D, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;125:1049-55.
Poor communication among perinatal health care teams has been highlighted as a safety concern. Exploring human factors, leadership behaviors, and root causes that may contribute to miscommunication, this commentary recommends ways individual clinicians, team leaders, managers, organizations, and patients and their families can enhance safety in the labor and delivery setting.

Gabler E. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. May 15, 2015.

Reporting on weaknesses in laboratory testing methods, this news article discusses patients' experiences with testing errors to illustrate how such failures can contribute to patient harm—such as missed or delayed diagnosis—and raises concerns about insufficient transparency, investigations, and regulations around laboratory facilities with poor processes.
Boyd M. J Eval Clin Pract. 2015;21:461-9.
Although recommended as a patient safety improvement strategy, the value of root cause analysis has been debated. This commentary suggests a three-step approach for optimizing root cause analysis results to detect factors that contribute to adverse events. The author applies philosophical principles to identify and prioritize interventions to enhance benefit from root cause analysis.
Gubar S.
This newspaper article describes how surgical complications, health care–associated infections, and ineffective patient–provider communication contributed to a patient's experience with harm and suggests that transparency around the incident and preoperative patient briefings could have improved the situation.