Järvinen TLN, Rickert J, Lee MJ. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013-2022.
This quarterly commentary explores a wide range of subjects associated with patient safety, such as the impact of disruptive behavior on teams, the value of apologies, and safety challenges due to COVID-19. Older materials are available online for free.
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.
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.
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.
Lyndon A, Simpson KR, Spetz J, et al. Appl Nurs Res. 2022;63:151516.
Missed nursing care appears to be associated with higher rates of adverse events. More than 3,600 registered nurses (RNs) were surveyed about missed care during labor and birth in the United States. Three aspects of nursing care were reported missing by respondents: thorough review of prenatal records, missed timely documentation of maternal-fetal assessments, and failure to monitor input and output.
Jomaa C, Dubois C‐A, Caron I, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2022;78:2015-2029.
Nurses play a critical role in ensuring patient safety. This study explored the association between the organization of nursing services and patient safety incidents in rehabilitation units. Findings highlight the key role of appropriate nurse staffing in reducing the incidence of events such as falls and medication errors
Incomplete nursing care is known to affect care quality and safety. This special issue documents the global problem of missed or rationed nursing care in a variety of settings and countries. Articles featured in this special issue examine systemic issues, explore interventions, and evaluate measurement tools.
Salvador RO, Gnanlet A, McDermott C. Personnel Rev. 2020;50:971-984.
Prior research suggests that functional flexibility has benefits in several industries but may carry patient safety risks in healthcare settings. Using data from a national nursing database, this study examined the effect of unit-level nursing functional flexibility on the incidence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. Results indicate that higher use of functionally flexible nurses was associated with a higher number of pressure ulcers, but this effect was moderated when coworker support within the unit was high.
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.
Lagoo J, Berry WR, Henrich N, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:314-320.
As part of a quality improvement initiative to enhance surgical onboarding, the authors used semi-structured interviews with 20 physicians to understand potential areas of risk when a physician begins working in an unfamiliar setting. Qualitative analysis found that three key findings: (1) physicians often receive little to no onboarding when starting to practice in a new setting, which can limit their ability to provide safe care; (2) physicians felt onboarding inadequately fostered strong interpersonal relationships among health care teams, which impedes psychological safety and team cohesion, and; (3) physicians noted an increased risk of patient harm during emergency situations in new settings due to lack of understanding of culture, workflow, roles/responsibilities and available equipment.
Incomplete or delayed test result communication is a known factor in diagnostic error. This article shares recommendations to enhance handoffs and information sharing amongst care teams and with patients.
Havaei F, MacPhee M, Dahinten S. J Adv Nurs. 2019;75:2144-2155.
This study looked at the impact of two different models of delivering care by nurses, team versus total care, on quality of care and adverse events. The authors found that the team nursing model reported higher frequency of adverse events when there were licensed practical nurses on the team.
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.
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.
Desai S, Fiumara K, Kachalia A. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e84-e90.
Outpatient safety is gaining recognition as a focus of research and improvement efforts. This project report describes an ambulatory safety program at an academic health system that targeted reporting, safety culture measurement, medication safety, and test result management. Repeated tracking over a 5-year period revealed that failure to request feedback played a role in the modest incident and concern reporting captured by the program. Decentralizing reporting response responsibilities throughout the system significantly increased feedback activity.
Mistakes during handoffs from the emergency department (ED) to inpatient units can diminish patient safety. This commentary summarizes how one hospital sought to to avoid miscommunications and disruptions by blocking admission of ED transfers during shift report. However, researchers found that blocking patient transfers did not result in improvements. The project did devise a standardized handoff process that was ultimately employed across the organization as a patient safety strategy.
Tully AP, Hammond DA, Li C, et al. Crit Care Med. 2019;47:543-549.
Transitions of care, whether from the hospital to the outpatient setting or within the hospital itself, represent a vulnerable time for patients. Inadequate communication during handoffs that occur as part of care transitions can contribute to adverse events and errors, including medication errors. This study of 58 intensive care units (ICUs) across 34 United States hospitals and 2 Dutch hospitals sought to assess medication errors among patients transferred from ICUs. Of the 985 patients included in the study, almost half (46%) experienced a medication error during transition out of the ICU. Discontinuing orders and reordering medications at the time of transfer out of the ICU as well as daily patient rounding in the ICU were associated with decreased odds of medication error during transition. A past Annual Perspective discussed challenges associated with handoffs and transitions of care.
Mays JA, Mathias PC. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2019;26:269-272.
Point-of-care test results are often manually transcribed into the electronic health record, which introduces risks of manual transcription errors. The authors of this study took advantage of a redundant workflow in which point-of-care blood glucose results were uploaded and also manually entered by staff. They estimate that 5 in 1000 manually entered results contain clinically significant transcription errors and call for interfacing point-to-care instruments as a patient safety strategy.
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