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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.
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.

Medscape Medical News. May 12, 2021.

Delays and mistakes in health care for distinct patient populations hold improvement lessons for the broader system. This news story highlights problems in correctional system cancer diagnoses and treatment that may indicate other types of prison care delivery problems.
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.
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.
Reeves JJ, Ayers JW, Longhurst CA. J Med Internet Res. 2021;23:e24785.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an extraordinary increase in the use of telehealth. This article discusses unintended consequences of telehealth and outlines guidance to assist health care providers in determining the appropriateness of a telehealth visit.
Dadlez NM, Adelman J, Bundy DG, et al. Ped Qual Saf. 2020;5:e299-e305.
Diagnostic errors, including missed diagnoses of adolescent depression, elevated blood pressure, and delayed response to abnormal lab results, are common in pediatric primary care. Building upon previous work, this study used root cause analyses to identify the failure points and contributing factors to these errors. Omitted process steps included failure to screen for adolescent depression, failure to recognize and act on abnormal blood pressure values, and failure to notify families of abnormal lab results. Factors contributing most commonly to these errors were patient volume, inadequate staffing, clinic environment, electronic and written communication, and provider knowledge.
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.
Following a positive fecal immunochemical test (a screening test for colon cancer), a colonoscopy was ordered for a 50-year-old man. Two months later, the nurse called him to see if he had obtained the colonoscopy. The patient reported that he was unable to schedule it due to cost of the copayment. The primary physician called the insurance company and was informed that the colonoscopy would be covered in full if the indication was written as preventive rather than diagnostic.