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.
Hoffmann DE, Fillingim RB, Veasley C. J Law Med Ethics. 2022;50:519-541.
Women’s pain has been underestimated compared to men’s pain, and treatments differ based on gender. This commentary revisits the findings from the 2001 article The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain. The authors state progress has been made in the past 20 years, but disparities still exist. Additional research is needed, particularly into chronic pain conditions that are more common in women.
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.
Lazzara EH, Simonson RJ, Gisick LM, et al. Ergonomics. 2022;65:1138-1153.
Structured handoffs support appropriate communication between teams or departments when transferring responsibility for care. This meta-analysis aimed to determine if structured, standardized post-operative anesthesia handoffs improved provider, patient, organizational and handoff outcomes. Postoperative outcomes moved in a generally positive direction when compared with non-standardized handoffs. The authors suggest additional research into pre- and intra-operative handoffs is needed.
Incomplete nursing care can negatively affect care quality and safety. This rapid review found that missed or omitted nursing care in adults contributes to increased mortality, adverse events, and clinical deterioration. Included studies cited several causes (e.g., environmental factors, staffing levels and skill mix) as well as solutions (e.g., education, process redesign).
Sun LY, Jones PM, Wijeysundera DN, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2148161.
Previous research identified a relationship between anesthesia handoffs and rates of major complications and mortality compared to patients who had the same anesthesiologist throughout their procedure. This retrospective cohort study including over 102,000 patients in Ontario, Canada, explored this relationship among patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Analyses revealed that anesthesia handovers were associated with poorer outcomes (i.e., higher 30-day and one-year mortality rates, longer hospitalizations and intensive care unit stays) compared with patients who had the same anesthesiologist throughout their procedure.
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.
Blume KS, Dietermann K, Kirchner‐Heklau U, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;56:885-907.
Nurse staffing levels have been shown to impact patient outcomes. Through an umbrella literature review and expert interviews, researchers developed a list of nurse-sensitive patient outcomes (NSPO). This list provides researchers potential avenues for future studies examining the link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes.
Abraham J, Pfeifer E, Doering M, et al. Anesth Analg. 2021;132:1563-1575.
Intraoperative handoffs between anesthesiologists are frequently necessary but are not without risk. This systematic review of 14 studies of intraoperative handoffs and handoff tools found that use of handoff tools has a positive impact on patient safety. Additional research is needed around design and implementation of tools, particularly the use of electronic health records to record handoffs.
Tyler N, Wright N, Panagioti M, et al. Health Expect. 2021;24:185-194.
Transitions of care represent a vulnerable time for patients. This survey found that safety in mental healthcare transitions (hospital to community) is perceived differently by patients, families, and healthcare professionals. While clinical indicators (e.g., suicide, self-harm, and risk of adverse drug events) are important, patients and families also highlighted the social elements of transitional safety (e.g., loneliness, emotional readiness for change).
Mangrum R, Stewart MD, Gifford DR, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020;21:1587-1591.e2.
Building upon earlier work, the authors engaged a technical expert panel to reach consensus on a definition for omissions of care in nursing homes. The article details the terms and concepts included in (and excluded from) the proposed definition, provides examples of omissions of care, intended uses (e.g., to guide quality improvement activities or training and education), and describes the implications of the definition for clinical practice, policy, and research.
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.
Demaria J, Valent F, Danielis M, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2021;36:202-209.
Little empirical evidence exists assessing the association of different nursing handoff styles with patient outcomes. This retrospective study examined the incidence of falls during nursing handovers performed in designated rooms away from patients (to ensure confidentiality and prevent interruptions and distractions). No differences in the incidence of falls or fall severity during handovers performed away from patients versus non-handover times were identified.
Boet S, Djokhdem H, Leir SA, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2020;125:605-613.
Handoffs between providers can introduce patient safety risks. This systematic review explored the impacts of intraoperative anesthesia handovers (e.g., intraoperative relief, transferring care to an incoming provider) on patient safety outcomes. The researchers pooled four studies and found that an intraoperative anesthesia handover significantly increases the risk of an adverse event by 40%.
Lau VI, Priestap FA, Lam JNH, et al. J Intensive Care Med. 2020;35:1067-1073.
Many factors can contribute to early, unplanned readmissions among critical care patients. In this prospective cohort study, adult patients who were discharged directly home after an ICU admission were followed for 8 weeks post-discharge to explore the predictors of adverse events and unplanned return visits to a health care facility. Among 129 patients, there were 39 unplanned return visits. Researchers identified eight predictors of unplanned return visits including prior substance abuse, hepatitis, discharge diagnosis of sepsis, ICU length of stay exceeding 2 days, nursing workload, and leaving against medical advice.
Handoffs are essential to communicating important information and preventing adverse patient care outcomes. This qualitative study explored how information about ICU patients’ family members is included in handovers. Findings suggest that written documentation about the family is inadequate and poorly structured and there is a need for user-friendly handoff tools that include information on patients’ family members.
Ashcroft J, Wilkinson A, Khan M. J Surg Educ. 2020;78:245-264.
This systematic review explored the different approaches taken by the United States and the United Kingdom to implement crew resource management (CRM) training. CRM in the United Kingdom had an emphasis on physicians and focused on skills outcomes using pre- and post-training questionnaires, whereas CRM in the United States focused on behavior outcomes and nontechnical skills utilizing multidisciplinary teams.
Gallagher R, Passmore MJ, Baldwin C. Med Hypotheses. 2020;142:109727.
The authors of this article suggest that offering palliative care services earlier should be considered a patient safety issue. They highlight three cases in which patients in Canada requested medical assistance in dying (MAiD). The patients in two of the cases were never offered palliative care services, and this could be considered a medical error – had they been offered palliative care services, they may have changed their mind about MAiD, as did the patient in the third case study.
Alqenae FA, Steinke DT, Keers RN. Drug Saf. 2020;43:517-537.
This systematic review of 54 studies found that over half of adult and pediatric patients experienced a medication error post-discharge, and that these errors regularly involved common drug classes such as antibiotics, antidiabetics, analgesics, and cardiovascular drugs. The authors suggest that future research examine the burden of post-discharge medication errors, particularly in pediatric populations.
Ogletree AM, Mangrum R, Harris Y, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020;21:604-614.e6.
To support the development of a uniform definition of omissions of care in nursing home settings, the authors conducted a thematic analysis of 34 articles describing existing definitions and found broad agreement that delays or failure of care constitutes an omission of care, but differing views on whether to include adverse events in the definition of omissions of care. The authors reviewed an additional 327 articles reporting adverse events attributable to omissions of care, and identified nineteen event types, with the most common being all-cause mortality, falls, and infections.
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.
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