Buitrago I, Seidl KL, Gingold DB, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2022;44:169-177.
Reducing hospital 30-day readmissions is seen as a way to improve safety and reduce costs. Baltimore City mobile integrated health and community paramedicine (MIH-CP) was designed to improve transitional care from hospital to home. After one year in operation, MIH-CP performed a chart review to determine causes of readmission among patients in the program. Root cause analysis indicated that at least one social determinant of health (e.g., health literacy) played a role in preventable readmissions; the program was modified to improve transitional care.
Meyer AND, Scott TMT, Singh H. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e228568.
Delayed communication of abnormal test results can contribute to diagnostic and treatment delays, patient harm, and malpractice claims. The Department of Veterans Affairs specifies abnormal test results be communicated to the patient within seven days if treatment is required, and within 14 days if no treatment is required. In the first full year of the program, 71% of abnormal test results and 80% of normal test results were communicated to the patient within the specified timeframes. Performance varied by facility and type of test.
Root cause analysis is a commonly used tool to identify systems-related factors that contributed to an adverse event. This study assessed a system-based approach, (i.e., collaborative case reviews (CCR) co-led by radiology and an institutional patient safety program) to identify contributing factors and explore the strength of recommended actions in the radiology department at a large academic medical center. Stronger action items, such as standardization of processes, were implemented in 41% of events, and radiology had higher completion rates than other hospital departments.
Rajan SS, Baldwin JL, 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.
Poor communication between hospital and primary care providers can lead to adverse events, such as hospital readmission. In this study of older adults who required medication-related follow-up with their primary care provider, the discharging provider only sent an adequate request for 60% of patients. Of those patients that did not have an adequate request, 14% had a related hospital revisit within 6 months.
Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478:1179-1185.
Autopsies are an important tool for identifying diagnostic errors. This retrospective study of 821 pediatric cancer deaths found that 10% had a major diagnostic discrepancy between antemortem and postmortem diagnoses. These discrepancies primarily consisted of missed infections, missed cancer diagnoses, and organ complications.
Carman E-M, Fray M, Waterson P. Appl Ergon. 2021;93:103339.
This study analyzed incident reports, discharge planning meetings, and focus groups with hospital and community healthcare staff to identify barriers and facilitators to safe transitions from hospital to community. Barriers included discharge tasks not being complete, missing or inaccurate information, and limited staff capacity. Facilitators include improved staff capacity and good communication between hospital staff, community healthcare staff, and family members. The authors recommend that hospital and community healthcare staff perspectives be taken into account when designing safe discharge policies.
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.
Richmond RT, McFadzean IJ, Vallabhaneni P. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001142.
Timely completion of discharge summaries can improve handoffs with outpatient physicians and ensure communication of potential patient safety problems. This quality improvement project used an established change model to improve the rate of discharge summary completed within 24 hours from less than 10%, to 84% within 2 months.
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).
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.
Chaudhry H, Nadeem S, Mundi R. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2021;479:47-56.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the use of telehealth across various medical specialties.This systematic review did not identify any differences in patient or surgeon satisfaction or patient-reported outcomes with telehealth for orthopedic care delivery as compared to in-person visits.However, the authors note that the included studies did not adequately capture or report safety endpoints, such as complications or missed diagnoses.
Shaw J, Bastawrous M, Burns S, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:30-35.
Patients who have fallen in their homes and are found by a home healthcare worker are referred to as “found-on-floor” incidents. This study found that length of stay was a key theme in found-on-floor incidents and signaled underlying system-level issues, such as lack of informational continuity across the continuum of care (e.g., lack of standard documentation across settings, unclear messaging regarding clients’ home care needs), reliance on home healthcare workers instead of rehabilitation professionals, and lack of fall assessment follow-up. The authors recommend systems-level changes to improve fall prevention practices, such as use of electronic health records across the continuum of care and enhanced accountability in home safety.
Lack of timely follow-up of test results is a recognized patient safety problem in primary care and can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. This study used human factors methods to understand lack of timely follow-up of abnormal test results in outpatient settings. Through interviews with the ordering physicians, the researchers identified several contributing factors, such as provider-patient communication channel mismatch and diffusion of responsibility.
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.
Jarrett T, Cochran J, Baus A. J Nurs Care Qual. 2020;35:233-239.
The Medications at Transitions and Clinical Handoffs Toolkit (MATCH) provides strategies to implement and improve medication reconciliation in healthcare. This article describes the implementation of MATCH in a rural primary care clinic and the resulting improvements in medication reconciliation workflows.
Huth K, Stack AM, Hatoun J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:208-215.
Over a three-year period, this study audio-recorded handoffs of outpatient clinics to a pediatric emergency department (ED) to determine whether use of a receiver-driven structured handoff intervention can reduce miscommunication and increase perceived quality, safety, and efficacy. Implementation of the tool resulted in a 23% relative reduction in miscommunication and in increased compliance with handoff elements, including illness severity, pending tests, contingency plans, and detailed callback requests, as well as improved perceptions of healthcare quality, safety, and efficiency.
Prior research has found poor communication between hospital-based and primary care physicians and has suggested that this may contribute to medical errors. This systematic review included 19 studies assessing the transfer of information at hospital discharge between hospital-based and primary care providers (PCPs), or evaluating interventions aimed at improving the timeliness and quality of discharge information. The review found that timely communication of discharge summaries was low, with 55% (median) transferred to PCPs within 48 hours and 85% (median) within 4-weeks; 8.5% of discharge summaries were never transferred. Discharge summaries nearly always contained patient demographics, admission/discharge dates and primary diagnoses, but less frequently included pending test results, diagnostic tests performed and discharge medications.
Omar A, Rees P, Cooper A, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2020;105:731-777.
Using a national database of patient safety incident reports in the United Kingdom, this study characterized primary care-related incidents among vulnerable children and used thematic analysis to identify priority areas for systems improvement. Over 1,100 incident reports were identified; nearly half resulted in some degree of harm but most (39%) were considered ‘low harm.’ Children with protection-related vulnerabilities experienced harm from unsafe care more frequently than children with social-, psychological, or physical vulnerabilities. The authors identified system priority action areas to mitigate harm among vulnerable children, including improving provider access to accurate information and reducing delays in provider referrals.
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