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Lo L, Rotteau L, Shojania KG. BMJ Open. 2021;11(12):e055247.
Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) is a mnemonic technique used to avoid communication failures during handoffs. This systematic review found that fidelity with SBAR is highest in classroom settings, but that studies in clinical contexts either did not achieve sufficient improvements in fidelity or did not assess fidelity.
Krishnan S, Wheeler KK, Pimentel MP, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2021;Epub Oct 28.
Incident reporting systems are used to detect patient safety concerns and determine potential causes and opportunities for improvements. In the perioperative setting of one hospital, insufficient handoffs were the most common event type in the “coordination of care” category. Use of structured handoffs is recommended to improve communication and patient safety.
Hyvämäki P, Kääriäinen M, Tuomikoski A-M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Aug 23.
Previous studies have demonstrated health information exchanges (HIE) can improve the quality and safety of care by improving diagnostic concordance and reducing medication errors. This review synthesizes physicians’ and nurses’ perspectives on patient safety related to use of HIE in interorganizational care transitions. Several advantages of and challenges with HIE are detailed.
Blume KS, Dietermann K, Kirchner‐Heklau U, et al. Health Serv Res. 2021;56(5):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 P, Augey L, Duclos A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(7):e615-e621.
Patient misidentification errors are common and potentially catastrophic. Patient identification incidents reported in one hospital were examined to identify errors and contributory factors. Of the 293 reported incidents, the most common errors were missing wristbands, wrong charts or notes in files, administrative issues, and wrong labeling. The most frequent contributory factors include absence of patient identity control, patient transfer, and emergency context.
Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478(6):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.

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, care standardization, teamwork, unit-based safety initiatives, and trigger tools.

Taylor M, Reynolds C, Jones RM. Patient Safety. 2021;3(2):45-62.
Isolation for infection prevention and control – albeit necessary – may result in unintended consequences and adverse events. Drawing from data submitted to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS), researchers explored safety events that impacted COVID-19-positive or rule-out status patients in insolation. The most common safety events included pressure injuries or other skin integrity events, falls, and medication-related events.
Abraham J, Pfeifer E, Doering M, et al. Anesth Analg. 2021;132(6):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.  
von Vogelsang A‐C, Göransson KE, Falk A‐C, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29(8):2343-2352.
Incomplete nursing care can be detrimental to care quality and patient safety. This cross-sectional survey of nurses in Sweden at one acute care hospital did not identify significant differences in missed nursing care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors posit that these results may be attributed to maintaining nurse-patient ratios, sufficient nursing skill mix, and patient mix.
Clari M, Conti A, Chiarini D, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2021;36(4):e51-e58.
Handovers between providers occur regularly during hospital stays. This review synthesizes the benefits of, and barriers to, successful handovers. Benefits include humanization of the patient and improved patient safety; barriers include provider stress and feelings of inadequacy. Recognition of these factors can improve successful implementation of handover procedures in hospitals.
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(2):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.
McHugh MD, Aiken LH, Sloane DM, et al. The Lancet. 2021;397(10288):1905-1913.
While research shows that better nurse staffing ratios are associated with improved patient outcomes, policies setting minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals are rarely implemented. In 2016, select Queensland (Australia) hospitals implemented minimum nurse staffing ratios. Compared to hospitals that did not implement minimum nurse staffing ratios, length of stay, mortality, and readmission rates were significantly lower in intervention hospitals, providing evidence, once again, that minimum staffing ratios can improve patient outcomes. 
Thomas J, Dahm MR, Li J, et al. Health Expect. 2021;24(2):222-233.
Missed or failure to follow up on test results threatens patient safety. This qualitative study used volunteers to explore consumer perspectives related to test result management. Participants identified several challenges that patients experience with test-results management, including systems-level factors related to the emergency department and patient-level factors impacting understanding of test results.
Li Q, Hu P, Kang H, et al. J Nutr Health Aging. 2020;25(4):492-500.
Missed and delayed diagnosis are a known cause of preventable adverse events. In this cohort of 107 patients with severe or critical COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, 45% developed acute kidney injury (AKI). However, nearly half of those patients (46%) were not diagnosed during their stay in the hospital. Patients with undiagnosed AKI experienced greater hospital mortality than those without AKI or diagnosed AKI. Involvement of intensive care kidney specialists is recommended to increase diagnostic awareness.
Volpi E, Giannelli A, Toccafondi G, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(3):e143-e148.
Medication errors are a common and significant causes of patient harm. This retrospective study examined regional prescription registry (RPR) data at a single Italian hospital at 4 comparison points, pre-admission, admission, hospitalization, and post-discharge. Researchers identified 4,363 discrepancies among 14,573 prescriptions originating from 298 patients with a mean age of 71.2 years. Approximately one third of the discrepancies (1,310) were classified as unintentional and the majority (62.1%) of those were found when comparing the prescriptions during the transition from  hospital discharge and the 9-month follow up. The study points to the need for enhanced communication between hospitalists and primary care providers at the hospital-home interface.
Miller AC, Arakkal AT, Koeneman S, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11(2):e045605.
Delayed diagnosis is a critical patient safety concern. This cohort study, consisting of 3,500 patients with tuberculosis (TB) over a 17-year period, found that more than three-quarters of patients experienced at least one missed opportunity for a diagnosis in the year before they were finally diagnosed with TB. The average duration of the diagnostic delay was nearly 32 days. Missed opportunities occurred most commonly in outpatient settings. A previous WebM&M commentary discusses patient harm resulting from a missed TB diagnosis.
Abraham J, Meng A, Tripathy S, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30(6):513-524.
Handoffs are essential to communicating important information and preventing adverse outcomes. This systematic review found that bundled interventions commonly used to support handoffs between the operating room and intensive care units included information transfer/communication checklists and protocols. A meta-analysis showed that bundled interventions resulted in significant improvements for a number of clinical and process outcomes, such as time to analgesia dosing, fewer information omissions, and fewer technical errors.
Calder LA, Perry J, Yan JW, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2021;77(6):561-574.
Prior research has found that some patients may be at risk for adverse events after discharge from the emergency department (ED). This cohort study analyzed adverse events occurring among patients discharged from the ED with cardiovascular conditions and identified several opportunities for improving safe care, such as adherence to evidence-based clinical guidelines and strengthening dual diagnosis detection.