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.
Zhong A, Amat MJ, Anderson TS, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6:e2343417.
Increased use of telehealth presents both benefits and potential threats to patient safety. In this study of 4,133 patients, researchers found that orders for colonoscopies or cardiac stress tests and dermatology referrals placed during telehealth visits were less likely to be completed within the designated timeframe compared to those ordered during in-person visits (43% vs. 58%). Not completing test or referrals within the recommended timeframe can increase the risk of delayed diagnoses and patient harm.
Cam H, Wennlöf B, Gillespie U, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2023;23:1211.
When patients are discharged from the hospital, they (and their informal caregivers) are given copious amounts of information that must also be communicated to their primary care provider. This qualitative study of primary care and hospital physicians, nurses, and pharmacists highlights several barriers to complete and effective communication between levels of care, particularly regarding geriatric medication safety. Barriers include the large number of complex patients and incongruent expectations of responsibility of primary and hospital providers. Support systems, such as electronic health records, can both enable and hinder communication.
Dorimain M-V, Plouffe-Malette M, Paquette M, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2023;12:e002291.
Laboratory tests are an integral part of diagnosing illness and injury, but system issues can result in the delayed communication of results to patients. This article describes use of the AHRQ toolkit Improving Your Office Testing Process to implement new testing and communication procedures. As an academic family practice clinic, an important first step was allowing residents to order tests and receive results in their own name instead of through an attending physician, which can cause delays in communication to patients. Providers and patients were satisfied with the new process.
Alqenae FA, Steinke DT, Belither H, et al. Drug Saf. 2023;46:1021-1037.
Miscommunication between hospitals and community pharmacists at patient discharge can result in incorrect or incomplete medication distribution to patients. This study describes utilization and impact of the Transfers of Care Around Medicines (TCAM) service post-hospital discharge at community pharmacies. An increasing percentage of TCAM referrals were completed post-intervention, but 45% were not completed at all or took longer than one month. The impact of the TCAM service on adverse drug events (ADE) and unintentional medication discrepancies (UMD) was uncertain. Future research may explore reasons for low/late completions or focus on high-risk medications, as those were associated with the most ADE and UMD.
Kapoor A, Patel P, Mbusa D, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2023;Epub Sep 27.
Pharmacists are frequently involved in medication reviews for hospitalized patients prescribed direct oral anti-coagulants (DOAC). This randomized controlled study explored pharmacist involvement with patients prescribed DOAC in ambulatory care. The intervention included up to three phone calls, electronic health record communication with the prescriber, and recommendations for lab work. After 90 days, there were no differences in clinically important medication errors between groups.
Georgiou A, Li J, Thomas J, et al. Public Health Res Pract. 2023;33:e3332324.
Several systemic factors may hinder communication of test results to patients and clinicians. This article describes a research project in Australia, "Delivering safe and effective test result communication, management and follow-up." Along with previously identified test result communication challenges such as workflow and technology, this paper highlights the need for national thresholds for critical laboratory results.
Monkman H, Kuziemsky C, Homco J, et al. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2023;304:39-43.
Implementation challenges can hinder the safety of telehealth. In this study, medical students used Healthcare Failure Modes and Effect Analysis to identify the causes of failures in telehealth and potential prevention strategies. Four categories of failures were identified: technical issues, patient safety, communication, and social and structural determinants.
Green MA, McKee M, Hamilton OKL, et al. BMJ. 2023;328:e075133.
Many patients were unable to access care during the pandemic, particularly during surges. This longitudinal cohort study in the UK reports that 35% of participants reported disrupted access to care (e.g., cancelled or postponed appointments or procedures). While overall rates of potentially preventable hospitalization were low (3%), those who reported disrupted access had increased risk of potentially preventable hospitalization.
Murphy DR, Zimolzak AJ, Upadhyay DK, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2023;30:1526-1531.
Measuring diagnostic performance is essential to identifying opportunities for improvement. In this study, researchers developed and evaluated two electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) to assess the quality of colorectal and lung cancer diagnosis. Each measure used data from the electronic health record (EHR) to identify abnormal test results, evidence of appropriate follow-up, and exclusions that signified unnecessary follow-up. The authors describe the measure testing results and outline the challenges in working with unstructured EHR data.
Alqenae FA, Steinke DT, Carson-Stevens A, et al. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2023;14:204209862311543.
Medication errors and adverse drug events (ADE) are unfortunately common at hospital discharge. This study used the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) in England and Wales to identify contributing causes to medication errors and ADE. Patients over 65 were the most common age group and, of incidents with a stated level of harm, most did not result in any harm. Overall, most incidents occurred at the prescribing stage, but varied by patient age group. Most contributory factors were organizational (e.g., continuity of care between provider types), followed by staff, patient, and equipment factors.
Coghlan A, Turner S, Coverdale S. Intern Med J. 2023;53:550-558.
Use of abbreviations in electronic health records increases risk of misunderstandings, particularly between providers of different specialties. In this study, junior doctors and general practitioners were asked about their understanding of common, uncommon, and rare abbreviations used in hospital discharge notes. No abbreviation was interpreted in the same way by all respondents, and nearly all respondents left at least one abbreviation blank or responded that they didn't know.
Pitts S, Yang Y, Thomas BA, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;29:2101-2104.
The CancelRx tool is designed to improve communication between electronic health record (EHR) systems and pharmacy dispensing software. However, interoperability issues can limit the tool’s usefulness and result in inadvertent dispensing of discontinued medications. This evaluation of discontinued medications at one health systems over a one-month period found that only one-third to one-half of discontinued medications were e-prescribed using the same EHR system and would result in a CancelRx message to the pharmacy; the remainder of discontinued medications were patient-reported or reconciled from outside sources.
Li E, Clarke J, Ashrafian H, et al. J Med Internet Res. 2022;24:e38144.
Electronic health records (EHR) systems frequently interact with EHRs in other organizations, between clinical settings (e.g., in-patient and out-patient), or with devices (e.g., smart pumps). In this review, 12 studies were identified that examined the effect of EHR interoperability on patient safety. While EHR interoperability was shown to improve patient safety, outcome measure heterogeneity limits measuring true effects.
Zimolzak AJ, Singh H, Murphy DR, et al. BMJ Health Care Inform. 2022;29(1):e100565.
Patient safety algorithms developed through research must also be implemented into clinical practice. This article describes the process of translating an electronic health record-based algorithm for detecting missed follow-up of colorectal or lung cancer testing, from research into practice. All 12 test sites were able to successfully implement the trigger and identify appropriate cases.
Domingo J, Galal G, Huang J. NEJM Catalyst. 2022;3.
Failure to follow up on abnormal diagnostic test results can cause delays in patients receiving appropriate care. This hospital used an artificial intelligence natural language processing system to identify radiology reports requiring follow-up. The system triggered automated notifications to the patient and ordering provider, and tracked follow-ups to completion. System development, deployment and next steps are detailed.
Rajan SS, Baldwin J, 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.
Ensuring maternal safety is a patient safety priority. This library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on improving maternal safety. Included resources explore strategies with the potential to improve maternal care delivery and outcomes, such as high reliability, collaborative initiatives, teamwork, and trigger tools.
Zimolzak AJ, Shahid U, Giardina TD, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:137-144.
Inadequate follow-up of diagnostic testing can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. Based on interviews with healthcare workers at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities across the United States, this qualitative study identified factors contributing to lack of timely follow-up of abnormal test results. The most commonly cited factors included trainee/resident involvement, absence of a process to address incidental findings on imaging, lack of standardized electronic health records (EHR) and related tracking systems, and lack of updated patient and provider contact information. The authors summarize participant recommendations to reduce missed test results.