Watson J, Salisbury C, Whiting PF, et al. Br J Gen Pract. 2022;Epub Jun 6.
Failure to communicate blood test results to patients may result in delayed diagnosis or treatment. In this study, UK primary care patients and general practitioners (GPs) were asked about their experiences with the communication of blood test results. Patients and GPs both expected the other to follow up on results and had conflicting experiences with the method of communication (e.g., phone call, text message).
Lou SS, Lew D, Harford DR, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:2165-2172.
Cross-sectional research has suggested many physicians experience burnout which can negatively impact patient safety. This longitudinal study evaluated the effect of workload (collected via electronic health record audit) on burnout and medication errors (i.e., retract-and-reorder [RAR] events) of internal medicine interns. Higher levels of workload were associated with burnout; there was no statistically significant association between burnout and RAR events.
Alexander R, Waite S, Bruno MA, et al. Radiology. 2022:212631.
To reduce medical errors caused by fatigue, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) adopted duty hour restrictions for ACGME-accredited residency programs; however, other healthcare fields have not yet done so. This review presents the limited existing evidence for regulating duty hours for radiologists and proposes that additional research needs to be completed before implementing restrictions.
Lim L, Zimring CM, DuBose JR, et al. HERD. 2022;15:28-41.
Social distancing policies implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic challenged healthcare system leaders and providers to balance infection prevention strategies and providing collaborative, team-based patient care. In this article, four primary care clinics made changes to the clinic design, operational protocols, and usage of spaces. Negative impacts of these changes, such as fewer opportunities for collaboration, communication, and coordination, were observed.
Meyer AND, Scott TMT, Singh H. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e228568.
Delayed communication of abnormal test results can contribute to diagnostic and treatment delays, patient harm, and malpractice claims. The Department of Veterans Affairs specifies abnormal test results be communicated to the patient within seven days if treatment is required, and within 14 days if no treatment is required. In the first full year of the program, 71% of abnormal test results and 80% of normal test results were communicated to the patient within the specified timeframes. Performance varied by facility and type of test.
Moore QT, Walker DA, Frush DP, et al. Radiol Technol. 2022;93(3):255-267.
Improving patient safety related to radiation delivery is an ongoing priority. This study explores the interpersonal and institutional factors which influence the overall perception of radiation safety culture among U.S. radiologic technologists.
Root cause analysis is a commonly used tool to identify systems-related factors that contributed to an adverse event. This study assessed a system-based approach, (i.e., collaborative case reviews (CCR) co-led by radiology and an institutional patient safety program) to identify contributing factors and explore the strength of recommended actions in the radiology department at a large academic medical center. Stronger action items, such as standardization of processes, were implemented in 41% of events, and radiology had higher completion rates than other hospital departments.
Zomerlei T, Carraher A, Chao A, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manage. 2021;26:221-224.
Failure to communicate abnormal test results to patients can lead to significant health complications and medical malpractice claims. This study aimed to increase patient engagement in asking their provider about previously obtained diagnostic test results. Reminders to follow up with their provider about test results were sent to the patient via the after-visit summary and patient portal. Patients receiving reminders were up to 20 times more likely to ask their providers about their test results, compared to patients who did not receive reminders.
Rajan SS, Baldwin JL, Giardina TD, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e262-e266.
Radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology has been most commonly used in perioperative settings to improve patient safety. This study explored whether RFID technology can improve process measures in laboratory settings, such as order tracking, specimen processing, and test result communication. Findings indicate that RFID-tracked orders were more likely to have completed testing process milestones and were completed more quickly.
Benning S, Wolfe R, Banes M, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:372-377.
Patient falls represent a significant cause of patient harm. While most research on falls focus on the in-patient setting, this study reviewed research evidence and findings from environmental assessments to provide recommendations for reducing risk of falls in the pediatric ambulatory care setting. Three categories of barriers and interventions were identified: equipment and furniture, environment, and people.
Cecil E, Bottle A, Majeed A, et al. Br J Gen Pract. 2021;71:e547-e554.
There has been an increased focus on patient safety, including missed diagnosis, in primary care in recent years. This cohort study evaluated the incidence of emergency hospital admission within 3 days of a visit with a GP with missed sepsis, ectopic pregnancy, urinary tract infection or pulmonary embolism. Shorter duration of appointment and telephone appointment (compared with in person) were associated with increased incidence of self-referred emergency hospital admission.
Diagnostic error reduction continues to be a patient safety focus. This article outlines innovative ways clinical laboratory professionals can support diagnostic excellence, such as improved communication between laboratory professionals, providers and patients.
Whelehan DF, Algeo N, Brown DA. BMJ Leader. 2021;5:108-112.
Healthcare workers are facing occupational fatigue stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., burnout, stress) as well as fatigue related to ongoing symptoms of the virus (“long COVID”). This article discusses preventive and proactive leadership strategies to address both types of fatigue, including screening for fatigue, providing reasonable accommodations for healthcare workers struggling with fatigue, stress mediation, and establishing organizational culture supporting sleep and rest.
Few medical humanitarian organizations have patient safety reporting and analysis systems. Interviews with medical and paramedical staff working in international humanitarian organizations expressed high expectations for organizational leadership to establish clear patient safety and medical error management policies.
Pogorzelska-Maziarz M, Chastain AM, Mangal S, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020;21:1782-1790.e4.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about home healthcare, which is common among older and disabled patients managing chronic conditions. This qualitative study explored perceived successes and challenges with regards to infection prevention and control among home healthcare staff. Identified challenges included the unpredictability of the home environment, patient/family dynamics, the intermittent nature of home healthcare, and staffing issues. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, home health leadership should consider these challenges as they prioritize infection prevention and control.
Lack of timely follow-up of test results is a recognized patient safety problem in primary care and can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. This study used human factors methods to understand lack of timely follow-up of abnormal test results in outpatient settings. Through interviews with the ordering physicians, the researchers identified several contributing factors, such as provider-patient communication channel mismatch and diffusion of responsibility.
Elliott J, Williamson K. Radiography. 2020;26:248-253.
Extended work shifts for nurses and physicians have been linked to increased risk of errors. In this systematic review, the authors discuss the impact of shift work disorder on errors and safety implications for radiographers. Studies suggested a positive correlation between errors and increased mental and physical fatigue resulting from shift work or rapid shift rotation, however none of the identified studies focused specifically on radiology professionals.
Kolla BP, Coombes BJ, Morgenthaler TI, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2020;36:51-54.
This observational study observed nonsignificant increases in patient safety incidents in the week following the transition into and out of daylight savings time (DST) over an eight-year period. The authors suggest policymakers and health system leadership evaluate risk mitigation strategies such as delayed shift start times during the transition to and from DST.
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