Webster KLW, Keebler JR, Lazzara EH, et al. Jt Comm Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:343-353.
Effective handoff communication is a key indicator of safe patient care. These authors outline a new model for handoff communication, integrating three theoretical frameworks addressing relevant inputs (i.e., individual organizational, environmental factors), mediators (e.g., communication, leadership), outcomes (e.g., patient, provider, teamwork, and organizational outcomes), and adaptation loops.
Buitrago I, Seidl KL, Gingold DB, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2022;44:169-177.
Reducing hospital 30-day readmissions is seen as a way to improve safety and reduce costs. Baltimore City mobile integrated health and community paramedicine (MIH-CP) was designed to improve transitional care from hospital to home. After one year in operation, MIH-CP performed a chart review to determine causes of readmission among patients in the program. Root cause analysis indicated that at least one social determinant of health (e.g., health literacy) played a role in preventable readmissions; the program was modified to improve transitional care.
Lafferty M, Harrod M, Krein SL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:28(12).
Use of one-way communication technologies, such as pagers, in hospitals have led to workarounds to improve communication. Through observation, shadowing, interviews, and focus groups with nurses and physicians, this study describes antecedents, types, and effects of workarounds and their potential impact on patient safety.
Scantlebury A, Sheard L, Fedell C, et al. Digit Health. 2021;7:205520762110100.
Electronic health record (EHR) downtime can disrupt patient care and increase risk for medical errors. Semi-structured interviews with healthcare staff and leadership at one large hospital in England illustrate the negative consequences of a three-week downtime of an electronic pathology system on patient experience and safety. The authors propose recommendations for hospitals to consider when preparing for potential technology downtimes.
Massa S, Wu J, Wang C, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:242-249.
The objective of this mixed methods study was to characterize training, practices, and preferences in interprofessional handoffs from the operating room to the intensive care unit (OR-to-ICU). Anesthesia residents, registered nurses, and advanced practice providers indicated that they had not received enough preparation for OR-to-ICU handoffs in their clinical education or on-the-job training. Clinicians from all professions noted a high value of interprofessional education in OR-to-ICU handoffs, especially during early degree programs would be beneficial.
The COVID-19 crisis requires cooperation and coordination of organizations and providers to address the persistent challenges presented by the pandemic. This on-demand video collection reinforces core TeamSTEPPS; methods that enhance clinician teamwork and communication skills to manage care safety during times of crisis.
Using ethnographic methods, this study explored the impact of ‘silent report’ (computer-mediated handover) on nurses’ cognitive work and communication. The authors summarize four emerging themes, which highlight and characterize the importance of oral communication to ensure accurate and useful handovers.
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.
Diaz MCG, Dawson K. Am J Med Qual. 2020;35:474-478.
Communication and shared mental models are key elements to effective teamwork. This study explored whether simulation-based closed-loop communication training would improve staff perceptions of communication ability and decrease medical errors. Increases in perception of closed-loop communication ability were sustained one-month after training. A retrospective chart review of all emergency severity index (ESI) level 1 patients (n=9) seen in the 4-months pre- and post-training showed a reduction in medical errors (89% to 56%, respectively).
Blease CR, Fernandez L, Bell SK, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:864–868.
Providing patients – particularly elderly, less educated, non-white, and non-English speaking patients – with access to their medical records via ‘open notes’ can improve engagement in care; however, these demographic groups are also less likely to take advantage of these e-tools. The authors summarize the preliminary evidence and propose steps to increasing use of open note portals among disadvantaged patients.
Kannampallil T, Abraham J. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020.
Prior research has found that many clinicians do not engage in active listening behaviors essential to safe patient care. This prospective observational study used a mixed-methods approach to better understand listening and question-asking behaviors during residents and nurses handoffs. The researchers did not identify any significant differences between residents and nurses in their active or passive listening behaviors, but they did find that nurses asked significantly more questions than residents.
Skaret MM, Weaver TD, Humes RJ, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2019;41:274-280.
I-PASS, a care transition handoff tool that enhances communication when coordinating patient transfer of care during medical shift changes, has been found to reduce preventable errors associated with handoffs. New pilot study found user-generated patient information and automatically compiled EHR data in the I-PASS format can reduce documentation errors.
Patient acuity and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration contribute to patient safety issues in trauma care. This qualitative study explored perceptions of handoff safety in pediatric trauma patients and found a high potential for information loss due to the rapidity of handoffs and the multiple disciplines involved.
Surgical specimen and laboratory process problems can affect diagnosis. This publication examines factors that contribute to errors across the surgical pathology process and reviews strategies to reduce their impact on care. Chapters discuss areas of focus to encourage process improvement and error response, such as information technology, specimen tracking, root cause analysis, and disclosure.
Handoffs represent a vulnerable time for patients when lapses in communication may adversely impact safety. Prior research has shown that medication errors occur frequently among patients transferred from ICU to non-ICU locations within the same hospital. In this qualitative study, physicians reviewed transfer notes and handoff documents for 50 patients transferred from a pediatric ICU to a medical unit. They found clinically relevant differences between the handoff and transfer note documentation in 42% of the transfers and conclude that such discrepancies are both common and place patient safety at risk. A previous WebM&M commentary described an adverse event related to a patient handoff.
Pandya C, Clarke T, Scarsella E, et al. J Oncol Pract. 2019;15:e480-e489.
Care transitions and handoffs represent a vulnerable time for patients, as failure to communicate important clinical information may occur with the potential for harm. In this pre–post study, researchers found that implementation of an electronic health record tool designed to improve the handoff between oncology clinic and infusion nurses was associated with a reduction in medication errors, shorter average patient waiting time, and better communication between nurses.
Simpkin AL, Murphy Z, Armstrong KA. Diagnosis (Berl). 2019;6:269-276.
Whether or not word selection during handoffs affects clinician anxiety and diagnostic uncertainty remains unknown. In this study involving medical students, researchers found that use of the word "hypothesis" compared to the word "diagnosis" when describing a hypothetical handoff from the emergency department to the inpatient setting was associated with increased self-reported anxiety due to uncertainty.
Emani S, Sequist TD, Lacson R, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:552-557.
Health care systems struggle to ensure patients with precancerous colon and lung lesions receive appropriate follow-up. This academic center hired navigators who effectively increased the proportion of patients who completed recommended diagnostic testing for colon polyps and lung nodules. A WebM&M commentary described how patients with lung nodules are at risk for both overtreatment and undertreatment.
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