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Washington, DC: VA Office of the Inspector General; June 28, 2022. Report No 21-03349-186.

 Cancer test communication failures can contribute to physical, emotional, and financial patient harm. This report examines missed opportunities made by multiple clinicians involved in the care of a patient with prostate cancer who then died from metastasized disease Seven recommendations are included for improving abnormal test result communication and error management at the facility.

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.
Lurvey LD, Fassett MJ, Kanter MH. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:288-295.
High reliability organizations encourage staff to self-report errors and hazards for comprehensive review and improvement. Three hospitals in one health system implemented a voluntary error reporting system for clinicians to report their own and others’ clinical errors. Although only 5% of reported errors were physician self-reports, there were still benefits: it captured novel errors, provided a safe space to report those errors, and encouraged secondary insights into causes of the errors.

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. 
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).  

Kirkup B. London, England: Crown Copyright; 2020. ISBN 9781528622714.

Missed diagnosis of a dangerous condition in utero, treatment errors, lack of response to concerns raised, and inadequate clinician expertise were among the contributing factors identified in this analysis of the death of a special needs infant at home. The 12 recommendations stemming from the investigation include improvements in disclosure support, clinician communication across facilities, and assignment of accountability when false and misleading statements are made during investigations.

Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General; September 3, 2020. Report No 19-09493-249.

Discontinuities in mental health care are a patient safety concern. This report analyzes how documentation gaps, medication reconciliation problems, and poor care coordination contributed to the suicide of a patient who presented at an emergency room, was screened there, and referred to a clinic for further care that was not completed.
Leuridan G. Safety Sci. 2020;129:104839.
The author defines ‘work debate spaces’ as organizational spaces that serve as a vehicle for organizational learning, practice changes, and performance improvement. This article discusses the role of formal and informal ‘work debate spaces’ in establishing a culture of safety in critical care settings. Examples of formal and informal spaces include mortality and morbidity (M&M) meetings (formal) and handoffs between shifts (informal).
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.
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.

Farnborough, UK:  Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; March 2020.

Missed or delayed diagnosis in maternal care can result in serious harm to both the mother and the child. This report analyzes a delayed diagnosis ectopic pregnancy incident and found that referral and discharge missteps contributed to the error.
Soncrant C, Mills PD, Neily J, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:41-46.
In this retrospective review of root cause analysis (RCA) reports of select gastrointestinal procedures, researchers identified 27 adverse events 30-month period. Nearly half (48%) of events caused major or catastrophic harm. The most frequently reported adverse events were attributable to human factors (22%), medication errors (22%) or retained items; retained items were associated with the most harm.
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.
Scott J, Dawson P, Heavey E, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e1744-e1758.
This study reviewed incident reports involving older adult patient transitions in geriatrics, cardiology, orthopedics and stroke to identify the types of transitions involved and whether reports included any evidence of individual or organizational learning.   Half of all incident reports involved interunit/department/team transfers and the majority (69%) of incidents were related to pressure injuries, falls, medication, and documentation errors. Few incident reports referenced individual or organizational learning (e.g., team discussions, root cause analysis) to inform practice or policy changes. A prior WebM&M describes a medication error occurring during an intrahospital transfer between the ICU and interventional radiology.  
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.