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Smalley CM, Willner MA, Muir MKR, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2020;38:1647-1651.
This study assessed the impact of electronic health record (EHR) interventions to standardize opioid prescribing practices across a large health system. Interventions included (1) deleting clinician preference lists, (2) default dose, frequency, and quantity, (3) standardizing formularies, and (4) dashboards with current opioid prescribing practices. In the 12 months after implementation, there was a decrease in the rate of opioid prescriptions overall, prescriptions exceeding three days, prescriptions exceeding prespecified morphine equivalent doses, and non-formulary prescriptions.
Fleischman W, Ciliberto B, Rozanski N, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2020;38:1072-1076.
In this prospective study, researchers conducted direct observations in one urban, academic Emergency Department (ED) to determine whether and which ED monitor alarms led to observable changes in patients’ care. During 53 hours of observation, there were 1,049 alarms associated with 146 patients, resulting in clinical management changes in 5 patients. Researchers observed that staff did not observably respond to nearly two-thirds of alarms, which may be a sign of alarm fatigue.
Li SYW, Magrabi F, Coiera E. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2012;19:6-12.
Interruptions pose a significant safety hazard for health care providers performing complex tasks, such as signout or medication administration. However, as prior research has pointed out, many interruptions are necessary for clinical care, making it difficult for safety professionals to develop approaches to limiting the harmful effects of interruptions. Reviewing the literature on interruptions from the psychology and informatics fields, this study identifies several key variables that influence the relationship between interruption of a task and patient harm. The authors provide several recommendations, based on human factors engineering principles, to mitigate the effect of interruptions on patient care. A case of an interruption leading to a medication error is discussed in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.