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Washington, DC: VA Office of the Inspector General; June 28, 2022. Report No 21-03349-186.

 Cancer test communication failures can contribute to physical, emotional, and financial patient harm. This report examines missed opportunities made by multiple clinicians involved in the care of a patient with prostate cancer who then died from metastasized disease Seven recommendations are included for improving abnormal test result communication and error management at the facility.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; June 2022.

Handoffs between prehospital emergency medical services (EMS) providers and hospital emergency departments (EDs) can be suboptimal, which increases patient harm potential. This interim report examines National Health Service discharge delays. It suggests a systemic approach is needed to address flow and capacity factors that contribute to ineffective and unsafe interfacility discharge and transfer.
Falk A-C, Nymark C, Göransson KE, et al. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2022:103276.
Needed nursing care that is delayed, partially completed, or not completed at all is known as missed nursing care (MNC). Researchers surveyed critical care registered nurses during two phases of the COVID-19 pandemic about recent missed nursing care, perceived quality of care, and contributing factors. There were no major changes in the types of, or reasons for, MNC compared to the reference survey completed in fall 2019.
Redley B, Taylor N, Hutchinson AM. J Adv Nurs. 2022;Epub Apr 22.
Nurses play a critical role in reducing preventable harm among inpatients. This cross-sectional survey of nurses working in general medicine wards identified both enabling factors (behavioral regulation, perceived capabilities, and environmental context/resources) and barriers (intentions, perceived consequences, optimism, and professional role) to implementing comprehensive harm prevention programs for older adult inpatients.
Frisch NK, Gibson PC, Stowman AM, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2022;Epub Feb 21.
Electronic health records (EHR) can improve patient care and safety but are not without potential risks. A cyberattack led to a 25-day shutdown of a hospital’s EHR that necessitated a rapid shift to manual processes. This article outlines the laboratory service’s processes during the shutdown, including patient safety and error reduction, billing, and maintaining compliance with regulatory policies.
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.
Labrague LJ, Santos JAA, Fronda DC. J Nurs Manag. 2022;30:62-70.
Missed or incomplete nursing care can adversely affect care quality and safety. Based on survey responses from 295 frontline nurses in the Philippines, this study explored factors contributing to missed nursing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings suggest that nurses most frequently missed tasks such as patient surveillance, comforting patients, skin care, ambulation, and oral hygiene. The authors suggest that increasing nurse staffing, adequate use of personal protective equipment, and improved safety culture may reduce instances of missed care.  
Lafferty M, Harrod M, Krein SL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:28(12).
Use of one-way communication technologies, such as pagers, in hospitals have led to workarounds to improve communication. Through observation, shadowing, interviews, and focus groups with nurses and physicians, this study describes antecedents, types, and effects of workarounds and their potential impact on patient safety.
Abraham J, Meng A, Sona C, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2021;151:104458.
Standardized handoff protocols from the operating room to the intensive care unit have improved patient safety, but clinician compliance and long-term sustainability remain poor. This study identified four phases of post-operative handoff associated with risk factors: pre-transfer preparation, transfer and set up, report preparation and delivery, and post-transfer care. The authors recommend “flexibly standardized” handoff intervention tools for safe transfer from operating room to intensive care.
Hada A, Coyer F. Nurs Health Sci. 2021;23:337-351.
Safe patient handover from one nursing shift to the next requires complete and accurate communication between nurses. This review aimed to identify which nursing handover interventions result in improved patient outcomes (i.e., patient falls, pressure injuries, medication administration errors). Interventions differed across the included studies, but results indicate that moving the handover to the bedside and using a structured approach, such as Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) improved patient outcomes.
Manias E, Bucknall T, Woodward-Kron R, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18:3925.
Interprofessional communication is critical to safe medication management during transitions of care. Researchers conducted this ethnographic study to explore inter- and intra-professional communications during older adults’ transitions of care. Communication was influenced by the transferring setting, receiving setting, and ‘real-time’ communication. Lack of, or poor, communication impacted medication safety; researchers recommend more proactive communication and involvement of the pharmacist.
Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at the patient's bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede a nurse’s ability to detect and prevent adverse events.
Hensgens RL, El Moumni M, IJpma FFA, et al. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2020;46:1367-1374.
Missed injuries and delayed diagnoses are an ongoing problem in trauma care. This cohort study conducted at a large trauma center found that inter-hospital transfer of severely injured patients increases the risk of delayed detection of injuries. For half of these patients, the new diagnoses led to a change in treatment course. These findings highlight the importance of clinician vigilance when assessing trauma patients.
Sauro KM, Soo A, de Grood C, et al. Crit Care Med. 2020.
Researchers in this multicenter cohort study found that 19% of patients experienced an adverse event during the transition from the intensive care unit (ICU)  to the hospital ward, with most (62%) occurring within three days of transfer. Compared to patients who did not experience an adverse events, those with adverse events were at increased risk for negative outcomes including ICU readmission, increased length of stay and inpatient morality. Approximately one-third (36%) of these events were deemed preventable by the research team.
A 52-year old women presented to the emergency department with a necrotizing soft tissue infection (necrotizing fasciitis) after undergoing cosmetic abdominoplasty (‘tummy tuck’) elsewhere. A lack of communication and disputes between the Emergency Medicine, Emergency General Surgery and Plastic Surgery teams about what service was responsible for the patient’s care led to delays in treatment. These delays allowed the infection to progress, ultimately requiring excision of a large area of skin and soft tissue.
Wooldridge AR, Carayon P, Hoonakker P, et al. App Ergon. 2020;85:103059.
Care transitions increase the risk of patient safety events, and pediatric patients are particularly vulnerable. This study used the Systems Engineer Initiative for Patient Safety approach to analyze care transitions, identify system barriers and solutions to guide efforts towards improving care transitions. Nine dimensions of system barriers and facilities in care transitions were identified: anticipation; ED decision making; interacting with family; physical environment; role ambiguity; staffing/resources; team cognition; technology, and; characteristics of trauma care.  Understanding these barriers and facilitators can guide future endeavors to improve care transitions.
Fox MT, Godage SK, Kim JM, et al. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2020;59:266-277.
This study used focus groups and a survey to identify systems-level approaches improving communication with patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). The majority of survey respondents reported less confidence communicating and forming relationships with LEP patients compared to English-proficient patients. While interpreter use has been shown to improve care for LEP patients, this study found that workflow constraints, supply-demand issues, variable interpretation quality, and gaps in communication interpretation services are barriers to interpreter use. A prior WebM&M Spotlight Case addresses the increased risk of error when communicating with LEP patients.
A 62-year-old man with a history of malnutrition-related encephalopathy was admitted for possible aspiration pneumonia complicated by empyema and coagulopathy. During the hospitalization, he was uncooperative and exhibited signs of delirium. For a variety of reasons, he spent two weeks in the hospital with minimal oral intake and without receiving most of his oral medications, putting him at risk for complications and adverse outcomes.
DeMarco P. Globe Magazine. November 3, 2018.
This magazine article reports on the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack. Written by the patient's husband, the article outlines the failures that led to her death despite the fact that she was at the door of a hospital emergency department and on the phone with an emergency dispatcher. Factors discussed include overreliance on poorly functioning technology, communication failures, and lack of fail-safes.