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Erkelens DC, Rutten FH, Wouters LT, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:40-45.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment during after-hours care pose serious threats to patient safety. This case-control study compared missed acute coronary syndrome (ACS) cases to other cases with chest discomfort occurring during out-of-hours services in primary care. Predictors of missed ACS included the use of cardiovascular medication, non-retrosternal chest pain, and consultation of the supervising general practitioner.   
Pandya C, Clarke T, Scarsella E, et al. J Oncol Pract. 2019;15:e480-e489.
Care transitions and handoffs represent a vulnerable time for patients, as failure to communicate important clinical information may occur with the potential for harm. In this pre–post study, researchers found that implementation of an electronic health record tool designed to improve the handoff between oncology clinic and infusion nurses was associated with a reduction in medication errors, shorter average patient waiting time, and better communication between nurses.
Herlihy M, Harcourt K, Fossa A, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2019;134:128-137.
Prior research has shown that when patients have access to clinicians' notes, they may identify relevant safety concerns. In this study, 9550 obstetrics and gynecology patients were provided with access to their outpatient visit documentation. Almost 70% of eligible patients read one or more notes during the study period, but only 3.2% shared feedback through 232 electronic reports. Of patients who provided feedback, 27% identified errors in the documentation; provider reviewers determined that 75% of these could impact care.
Zuccotti G, Samal L, Maloney FL, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2018;168:820-821.
Failure to follow up abnormal test results can lead to a delayed or missed diagnosis. Using data from a single institution, researchers observed that while more than 99% of abnormal mammograms received appropriate follow-up, only 91% of abnormal Papanicolaou (Pap) smears did. They suggest that improving workflow processes and ensuring appropriate use of health information technology can help optimize test result follow-up.
Meyer AND, Murphy DR, Al-Mutairi A, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2017;32.
Trigger tools facilitate identification of adverse events. In this retrospective medical record review study, investigators found that an automated trigger successfully identified delayed follow-up of laboratory thyroid testing among patients with hypothyroidism, with a positive predictive value of 60%. The authors suggest that this trigger approach could be used to detect and ameliorate follow-up delays in real time.
Dalal AK, Pesterev BM, Eibensteiner K, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2015;22:905-8.
Failure to follow-up on test results in ambulatory practice is a common, serious safety concern. This study examined the use of a results manager tool by primary care physicians in Partners Healthcare in Boston. Although the vast majority of providers used the tool, many did not find that it was helpful for any specific purpose and only 64% were satisfied with the tool.
Salinas M, López-Garrigós M, Lillo R, et al. Clin Biochem. 2013;46:1767-9.
Although electronic test ordering resulted in fewer patient identification errors in a clinical laboratory, significant variability in error rates between centers remained, emphasizing the continued effect of human behavior on interventions.
Roy CL, Rothschild JM, Dighe AS, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2013;39:517-527.
Appropriate follow-up of abnormal test results remains a difficult issue. This local task force report recommends standardization of notification policies, clear identification of the care team, enhanced electronic result tracking, and quality reporting and metrics.