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March KL, Peters MJ, Finch CK, et al. J Pharm Pract. 2022;35(1):86-93.

Transitions of care from inpatient to outpatient settings are vulnerable to medication errors. This study found that patients receiving pharmacist-led medication reconciliation and education prior to discharge reported higher patient satisfaction scores; lower readmission rates compared to standard care patients were also observed. Pharmacists potentially prevented 143 medication safety events during medication reconciliation.
Shah AS, Hollingsworth EK, Shotwell MS, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1180-1189.
Medication reconciliations, including conducting a best possible medication history (BPMH), may occur multiple times during a hospital stay, especially at admission and discharge. By conducting BPMH analysis of 372 hospitalized older adults taking at least 5 medications at admission, researchers found that nearly 90% had at least one discrepancy. Lower age, total prehospital medication count, and admission from a non-home setting were statistically associated with more discrepancies.
Bourne RS, Jennings JK, Panagioti M, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:609-622.
Patients transferring from the intensive care unit (ICU) to the hospital ward may experience medication errors. This systematic review examined medication-related interventions on the impact of medication errors in ICU patients transferring to the hospital ward. Seventeen studies were included with five identified intervention components. Multi-component studies based on staff education and guidelines were effective at achieving almost four times more deprescribing on inappropriate medications by the time of discharge. Recommendations for improving transfers are included.
Li Q, Hu P, Kang H, et al. J Nutr Health Aging. 2020;25:492-500.
Missed and delayed diagnosis are a known cause of preventable adverse events. In this cohort of 107 patients with severe or critical COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, 45% developed acute kidney injury (AKI). However, nearly half of those patients (46%) were not diagnosed during their stay in the hospital. Patients with undiagnosed AKI experienced greater hospital mortality than those without AKI or diagnosed AKI. Involvement of intensive care kidney specialists is recommended to increase diagnostic awareness.
Haydar B, Baetzel A, Stewart M, et al. Anesth Analg. 2020;131:245-254.
Children undergoing intrahospital transport are at risk for adverse events. This study used perioperative adverse event data reported to a patient safety organization to identify pediatric anesthesia transport-associated adverse events. A small proportion (5%) of pediatric anesthesia adverse events were associated with transport, but the majority of events were deemed preventable and one-third resulted in patient harm. Cardiac arrest and respiratory events occurred most frequently and largely affected very young children (<6 month). A previous WebM&M discussed a perioperative respiratory event in a pediatric patient during intrahospital transport.
Daliri S, Bouhnouf M, van de Meerendonk HWPC, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2020;17:677-684.
This study explored the impact of longitudinal medication reconciliation performed at transitions (admission, discharge, five-days post-discharge). Medication changes implemented due to longitudinal reconciliation prevented harm in 82% of patients. Potentially serious errors were frequently identified at hospital discharge and commonly involved antithrombotic medications.
Alqenae FA, Steinke DT, Keers RN. Drug Saf. 2020;43:517-537.
This systematic review of 54 studies found that over half of adult and pediatric patients experienced a medication error post-discharge, and that these errors regularly involved common drug classes such as antibiotics, antidiabetics, analgesics, and cardiovascular drugs. The authors suggest that future research examine the burden of post-discharge medication errors, particularly in pediatric populations.
Herledan C, Baudouin A, Larbre V, et al. Support Care Cancer. 2020;28:3557-3569.
This systematic review synthesizes the evidence from 14 studies on medication reconciliation in cancer patients. While the majority of studies did not include a contemporaneous comparison group, they did report that medication reconciliation led to medication error identification (most frequently drug omissions, additions or dosage errors) in up to 88-95% of patients.
McLeod PL, Cunningham QW, DiazGranados D, et al. Health Care Manag Rev. 2021;46:341-348.
Effective teamwork is critical to ensuring patient safety, particularly in intensive settings such as critical care. This paper describes a “hackathon” – an intensive problem-solving event commonly used in computer science designed to stimulate creative solutions – focused on the challenges encountered by rapid team formation in critical care settings (such as for cardiac resuscitation). Hackathon teams were multidisciplinary, comprised of healthcare professionals and academics with expertise in communications, psychology and organizational sciences. The paper briefly discusses the three solutions proposed, and the impacts of leveraging this approach for solving other problems specific to health care management.
Wood C, Chaboyer W, Carr P. Int J Nurs Stud. 2019;94:166-178.
Early detection of patient deterioration remains an elusive patient safety target. This scoping review examined how nurses employ early warning scoring systems that prompt them to call rapid response teams. Investigators identified 23 studies for inclusion. Barriers to effective identification and treatment of patient deterioration included difficulty implementing early warning score systems, overreliance on numeric risk scores, and inconsistent activation of rapid response teams based on early warning score results. They recommend that nurses follow scoring algorithms that calculate risk for deterioration while supplementing risk scoring with their clinical judgment from the bedside. A WebM&M commentary highlighted how early recognition of patient deterioration requires not only medical expertise but also collaboration and communication among providers.
Pellegrin K, Lozano A, Miyamura J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:103-110.
Older adults frequently encounter medication-related harm, which may result in preventable hospitalizations. In six Hawaiian hospitals, hospital pharmacists identified older patients at risk of medication problems and assigned them to a community pharmacist who coordinated their medications across prescribers for 1 year after discharge. This post-hoc analysis of the intervention found that most medication-related harm occurred in the community (70%) rather than the hospital and that the intervention successfully reduced community-acquired harm.
Dr. Meltzer is the Fanny L. Pritzker Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine, and Director of the Center for Health and the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. His research aims to improve the quality and lower the cost of hospital care. We spoke with him about the Comprehensive Care Physician Model, which he pioneered and was recently featured in an article in The New York Times Magazine.
De Oliveira GS, Castro-Alves LJ, Kendall MC, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:375-380.
Care transitions increase risk for medication errors. This meta-analysis found that pharmacist support during care transitions reduced medication errors and postdischarge emergency department visits. These results support a role for pharmacists in medication safety interventions for patients undergoing care transitions.
Polinski JM, Moore JM, Kyrychenko P, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2016;35:1222-9.
This intervention study provided pharmacist support to perform medication reconciliation and care coordination for patients discharged from the hospital. Compared to similar-risk patients who did not receive the intervention, those who had medication reconciliation by pharmacists were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. These results add to the existing literature supporting the utility of pharmacist-led care transition interventions.
Sokol-Hessner L, White AA, Davis KF, et al. J Hosp Med. 2016;11:245-250.
Although interhospital transfers are considered risky, they are not well characterized. This analysis of inpatient records found that even after adjustment for illness severity and patient characteristics, transferred patients had a higher risk of death compared with patients admitted through the emergency department. This finding should prompt prospective study of transfers to elucidate and address safety vulnerabilities.
Ensing HT, Koster ES, Stuijt CCM, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2015;37:430-4.
Patients are susceptible to various problems following hospital discharge, including medication errors. This commentary suggests that improving the transfer of patient medication history, performing home visits to follow up with patients, and collaboration between primary care and community pharmacy can help reduce adverse drug events after patients are discharged from the hospital.
O'Leary KJ, Turner J, Christensen N, et al. J Hosp Med. 2015;10:147-51.
Clinician discontinuity is often cited as a potential patient safety issue. However, this study found that transfers of care between hospitalists did not appear to be associated with adverse events. The authors note that as hospital care is provided within teams, research should focus on the effects of team complexity and changes on patient safety.