Tscholl DW, Weiss M, Kolbe M, et al. Anesth Analg. 2015;121:948-956.
This pre-post study demonstrated increases in teamwork after introduction of an anesthesia checklist. Although evidence for checklists in real-world settings is mixed, this work demonstrates their efficacy as part of an intervention study, which is consistent with prior work.
Smits M, Groenewegen PP, Timmermans DRM, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2009;9:16.
Emergency department (ED) patients are particularly vulnerable to adverse events, and a prior study of closed malpractice claims implicated systems factors such as poor teamwork in adverse patient outcomes. This study used root cause analysis of incident reports to identify the types and causes of errors and unanticipated events in the ED. Incidents included poor communication and teamwork, particularly with other departments, but medication errors and diagnostic errors were also noted. The authors recommend that organizations integrate the ED into hospital-wide safety improvement efforts.
A powerful anti-clotting medication is ordered for a patient admitted for coronary intervention. Due to a forcing function in the computer order entry system, the intern enters an arbitrary maintenance infusion rate, assuming that the pharmacy will fix it if it is wrong. The pharmacy dispenses it as written, and the nurse administers it—underdosing the patient by a factor of 40.
This AHRQ-funded toolkit outlines how one Midwestern hospital system successfully implemented a patient advisory council. A companion toolkit illustrates how the council worked with the hospital to develop and implement a medication list initiative.
Following surgery, a woman on a patient-controlled analgesia pump is found to be lethargic and incoherent, with a low respiratory rate. The nurse contacted the attending physician, who dismisses the patient's symptoms and chastises the nurse for the late call.
Hospitalized for surgery, a woman with a history of seizures was given an overdose of the wrong medicine due to multiple errors, including an inaccurate preadmission medication list, failure to verify medication history, and uncoordinated information systems.
A young woman with Takayasu's arteritis, a vascular condition that can cause BP differences in each arm, was mistakenly placed on a powerful intravenous vasopressor because of a spurious low BP reading. The medication could have led to serious complications.
Pronovost PJ, Thompson DA, Holzmueller CG, et al. J Crit Care. 2006;21:305-15.
This study reports the initial findings from a voluntary, Web-based patient safety incident reporting system for intensive care units (ICUs). The system, developed through funding by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), collected data on incidents that could have resulted in patient harm. During the study, more than 2000 reports were filed from 23 participating ICUs. A substantial minority (42%) of incidents led to patient harm, and most had multiple contributing factors, such as deficiencies in training or teamwork. The authors note that the science of incident reporting systems is still in its infancy and recommend that future research should study how to use incident reporting data to improve patient safety.
Ardenne M, Reitnauer PG. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 1975;25:1369-79.
This special issue highlights Canadian experiences in several safety-related areas: culture shift in support of safety, risk identification and reduction, medication safety, change initiative strategies, and disclosure and accountability.
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