Jomaa C, Dubois C‐A, Caron I, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2022;78:2015-2029.
Nurses play a critical role in ensuring patient safety. This study explored the association between the organization of nursing services and patient safety incidents in rehabilitation units. Findings highlight the key role of appropriate nurse staffing in reducing the incidence of events such as falls and medication errors
Lagisetty P, Macleod C, Thomas J, et al. Pain. 2021;162:1379-1386.
Inappropriate prescribing of opioids is a major contributor to the ongoing opioid epidemic. This study involved simulated patients with chronic opioid use who called primary care clinics in need of a new provider because their previous physician had retired or stopped prescribing opioids. Findings indicate that primary care providers were generally unwilling to prescribe opioids to patients whose histories are suggestive of misuse, which may raise access to care concerns and cause potential unintended harm for some patients.
Rich RK, Jimenez FE, Puumala SE, et al. HERD. 2020;14:65-82.
Design changes in health care settings can improve patient safety. In this single-site study, researchers found that new hospital design elements (single patient acuity-adaptable rooms, decentralized nursing stations, access to nature, etc.) improved patient satisfaction but did not impact patient outcomes such as length, falls, medication events, or healthcare-associated infections.
Koo JK, Moyer L, Castello MA, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2020;5:e329.
Children are highly vulnerable to safety risks associated with written handoffs. This article describes the impact of unit-wide implementation of a new handoff tool using electronic health record (EHR) auto-populated fields for pertinent neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient data. Handoff time remained the same, and the tool increased the accuracy of patient data included in handoffs and reduced the frequency of incorrect medications listing.
Parro Martín M de los Á, Muñoz García M, Delgado Silveira E, et al. J Eval Clin Pract. 2021;27:160-166.
Researchers analyzed medication errors occurring in the trauma service of a single university hospital in Spain to inform the development and implementation of a set of measures to improve the safety of the pharmacotherapeutic process. The Multidisciplinary Hospital Safety Group proposed improvement measures that intend to involve pharmacists in medication reconciliation, increase the use of medication reconciliation in the emergency and trauma departments, and incorporate protocols and alerts into the electronic prescribing system.
Lindblad M, Unbeck M, Nilsson L, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2020;20:289.
This study used a trigger tool to retrospectively identify and characterize no-harm incidents affecting adult patients in home healthcare settings in Sweden. The most common incidents identified by the trigger tool were falls without injury, medication management incidents, and moderate pain. Common contributing factors included delayed, erroneous, or incomplete nursing care and treatment.
Stolldorf DP, Mixon AS, Auerbach AD, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77:1135-1143.
This mixed-methods study assessed the barriers and facilitators to hospitals’ implementation of the MARQUIS toolkit, which supports hospitals in developing medication reconciliation programs. Leadership who responded to the survey/interview expressed limited institutional budgetary and hiring support, but hospitals were able to implement and sustain the toolkit by shifting staff responsibilities, adding pharmacy staff, and using a range of implementation strategies (e.g., educational tools for staff, EHR templates).
Achilleos M, McEwen J, Hoesly M, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77.
Pharmacists are critical to ensuring safe transitions between acute care and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). This retrospective study evaluated the frequency of missed doses of high-risk medications after hospital-to-SNF transfers and found that 60% of first doses of high-risk medications were given after the scheduled administration time. After implementation of a medication order process including pharmacist-led medication reconciliation, the average delay in medication administration decreased significantly.
Pfeiffer Y, Zimmermann C, Schwappach DLB. J Patient Saf. 2020;Publish Ahead of Print.
This study examined patient safety issues stemming from health information technology (HIT)-related information management hazards. The authors identified eleven thematic groups describing such hazards occurring at a systemic level, such as fragmentation of patient information, “information islands” (e.g., nurses and physicians have separate information sets despite the same HIT system), and inadequate information structures (e.g., no drug interaction warning integrated in the chemotherapy prescribing tool).
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.
Xiao Y, Abebe E, Gurses AP. J Patient Saf Risk Manag. 2019;24:30-36.
This commentary describes the application of a work system model to discharge transitions as a communication improvement strategy. The authors suggest that human factors approaches be applied to identify potential postdischarge medication safety issues.
Triller D, Myrka A, Gassler J, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2018;44:630-640.
Patients prescribed high-risk medications, including anticoagulants, are at increased risk for adverse drug events and may be particularly vulnerable during care transitions. This study describes how a multidisciplinary panel of anticoagulation experts used an iterative consensus-building process to determine what information should be communicated to relevant providers for all patients on anticoagulation undergoing a transition in care.
Chui MA, Stone JA. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2014;10:195-203.
This qualitative study used interviews with community pharmacists to characterize the types of latent errors that can contribute to problems with handoffs in care. Since the handoff process was not standardized, pharmacists reported encountering both information overload and a lack of accurate information when giving and receiving handoffs.
Doyle J. Melbourne, Australia: Victorian Auditor-General's Office; October 30, 2013.
Following the implementation of a large clinical information communication technology project, this report identified interoperability and usability failures and noted medication ordering and management as particularly vulnerable to errors.
Electronic health records have had mixed effects on patient safety. This qualitative study of physicians and nurses revealed safety concerns about alert fatigue and propagation of incorrect information as well as perceived safety improvements through enhanced communication and legibility.
This monthly column highlights an initiative to introduce safer device connectors to prevent spinal and epidural medications from being delivered intravenously, discusses the value of independent double-checks, and shares thoughts on the 35th anniversary of this column.
Most patient interactions with the health care system occur in the outpatient setting. Many potential and actual safety problems occur there as well.(1) Yet patient safety literature and practice do not seem to have reached deeply into ambulatory care.
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