The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Bourne RS, Jeffries M, Phipps DL, et al. BMJ Open. 2023;13:e066757.
Patients transitioning from the intensive care unit (ICU) to the general ward are vulnerable to medication errors. This qualitative study included medical staff and clinical pharmacists from hospital wards and ICUs to identify factors that contribute to medication safety or adverse events at times of transition. Lack of communication between provider types (e.g., nurse and pharmacist) and time pressure considerations had negative effects on medication safety. Ward rounds and safety culture had positive effects.
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.
Emergency departments are high-risk environments due to the urgency of care needs and complexity of communication. This commentary explores challenges associated with medication administration, handoffs, discharge processes, and electronic health records in emergency medicine and recommends strategies to reduce risks.
Barber ND, Alldred DP, Raynor DK, et al. Qual Saf Health Care. 2009;18:341-346.
This study found a remarkably high incidence of medication errors—nearly two errors per patient—in skilled nursing facilities. Interviews with staff revealed several underlying factors: polypharmacy, overworked staff, poor communication between nursing home staff and physicians, lack of a culture of safety, and lack of reliable systems for medication ordering and administration. Recognition of the high potential for medication errors in nursing facilities has led to the development of toolkits for improving medication safety. A serious medication administration error at a nursing facility is discussed in this AHRQ WebM&M case commentary.
The Leapfrog Group has been a major driver of patient safety efforts—more than 1000 hospitals have committed to implementing its recommendations for computerized provider order entry, intensivist coverage for critically ill patients, evidence-based referral for certain diagnoses, and implementation of the National Quality Forum's (NQF) Safe Practices. A prior study found that hospitals that had implemented at least one Leapfrog practice tended to provide higher quality of care for specific diagnoses. However, in this study, adoption of the NQF safe practices did not correlate with reduced inpatient mortality. The authors note that many hospitals could score highly on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey but not fully implement or consistently follow safety recommendations, as the survey only measures a hospital's self-reported implementation of safety practices.
This commentary provides a broad overview of the issues facing health care systems in their efforts to promote quality and safety. The author discusses pervasive cultural barriers and process limitations that contribute to errors, while providing a series of anecdotes to demonstrate how easy and frequent these events can occur. Approaches for improvement that draw from the experiences of non-health care organizations, such as Toyota, are included. The strength of the commentary lies in the compelling stories shared and the perspectives offered to foster change.
Desai R, Williams CE, Greene SB, et al. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2011;9:413-22.
Scrutiny over the quality of care delivered in post-acute settings is catalyzing improvement initiatives for this emerging safety priority. Medication safety and fostering a safety culture are previously identified needs, but greater attention to ensure safer care transitions is a targeted goal. This study analyzed medication errors reported by North Carolina nursing homes to describe specific errors that occurred during patient transitions to nursing homes. Of the nearly 30,000 individual medication errors reported, 11% involved a care transition. Notably, the transition-related errors were also associated with higher odds of patient harm. Contributing factors to the transition-related reports included problems with staff communication, order transcription, medication availability, and pharmacy issues. The authors highlight the opportunities for medication safety during this high-risk transition period for patients.