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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.

Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. January 5, 2021. Report No. 20-01521-48.

 

This investigation examined care coordination, screening and other factors that contributed to a patient death by suicide shortly after discharge from a Veteran’s Hospital. Event reporting, disclosure and evaluation gaps were identified as process weaknesses to be addressed. 

Kirkup B. London, England: Crown Copyright; 2020. ISBN 9781528622714.

Missed diagnosis of a dangerous condition in utero, treatment errors, lack of response to concerns raised, and inadequate clinician expertise were among the contributing factors identified in this analysis of the death of a special needs infant at home. The 12 recommendations stemming from the investigation include improvements in disclosure support, clinician communication across facilities, and assignment of accountability when false and misleading statements are made during investigations.

Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General; September 3, 2020. Report No 19-09493-249.

Discontinuities in mental health care are a patient safety concern. This report analyzes how documentation gaps, medication reconciliation problems, and poor care coordination contributed to the suicide of a patient who presented at an emergency room, was screened there, and referred to a clinic for further care that was not completed.

Office of the Inspector General. Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs; July 28, 2020. Report Number 19-07507-214.

Patient suicide is a never event. This report analyzes the death of a veteran after presenting at an emergency room with suicidal ideation. The analysis found lack of both suicide prevention policy adherence and appropriate assessment, as well as a lack concern for the patient’s condition contributed to the failure.   
Office of Health Care Quality. Baltimore, MD: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
This annual report summarizes never events in Maryland hospitals over the previous year. From July 2019-June 2020, reported pressure ulcers increased while treatment delays and surgery-related events decreased. The authors recommend several corrective actions to build on training and policy changes to guide improvement work, including improving team communication and use of hospital data to reduce delays.

Farnborough, UK:  Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; March 2020.

Missed or delayed diagnosis in maternal care can result in serious harm to both the mother and the child. This report analyzes a delayed diagnosis ectopic pregnancy incident and found that referral and discharge missteps contributed to the error.
Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; December 18, 2019.
Maternal care during and after childbirth is at risk for never events including retained foreign objects. This analysis of a sentinel event involving a retained surgical tampon after childbirth discusses communication, fatigue, and process factors that contributed to the incident. The report suggests improved handoffs as one improvement strategy.
Cullen A. Uitgeverij van Brug: The Hague, The Netherlands; 2019. ISBN: 9789065232236.
Patient stories offer important insights regarding the impact medical errors have on patients and their families. This book shares the author's experience with medical error and spotlights how lack of transparency in European health care can contribute to avoidable process failures that result in patient harm.
Griffiths P, Ball JE, Bloor K, et al. National Institute for Health Research; 2018.
Missed nursing care has been linked to safety problems, but ensuring reliable levels of nurse staffing remains challenging. This report provides the results of a 3-year investigation into whether tracking of vital signs by nursing staff could serve as a viable measure for safe patient coverage. The report identified correlations between low staffing, missed vital sign observation, length of stay, and likelihood of mortality. However, record review found no direct relationship between safety and staffing levels. A PSNet perspective examined the relationship between missed nursing care and patient safety.
London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; 2017. ISBN: 9781528601344.
Patients with mental health conditions face particular safety challenges. This report describes incidents involving patients with eating disorders who experienced harm while receiving care in National Health Service organizations. Factors that contributed to the failures included poor care coordination, premature discharge, and lack of monitoring. The report discusses gaps in the investigations of these patient deaths and outlines areas of improvement.
Hannawa AF, Wu AW, Juhasz RS, eds. Berlin, Germany: DeGruyter; 2017. ISBN: 9783110455014.
Poor communication can contribute to medical error, but incident analysis often fails to identify particular elements of communication associated with the error. This publication discusses factors that influence communication in the medical care process and uses case studies to illustrate how effective communication can help prevent and address close calls and adverse events.
Oakbrook Terrance, IL: Joint Commission; 2018. ISBN: 9781635850598.
Checklists are a widely accepted strategy to improve communication and standardize processes to support reliability. This publication includes information on what makes a checklist useful and provides numerous checklist templates that focus on tasks in areas such as medication management, performance improvement, and infection control that can be implemented in various settings.
Boutwell A, Bourgoin A , Maxwell J, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2016. AHRQ Publication No. 16-0047-EF.
This toolkit provides information for hospitals to help reduce preventable readmissions among Medicaid patients. Building on hospital experience with utilizing the materials since 2014, this updated guide explains how to determine root causes for readmissions, evaluate existing interventions, develop a set of improvement strategies, and optimize care transition processes.
Washington, DC: United States Government Accountability Office; January 5, 2016. Publication GAO-16-158.
The Veterans Health Administration faces various challenges to providing safe care, including poor continuity during transitions to different locations which can result in inappropriate discontinuation of medications that patients require. This government report discuses efforts to reduce gaps in medication access and suggests developing clear policies to prevent patient harm in this population.
London, UK: Healthwatch England; July 2015.
Discharges are vulnerable periods for patients, often due to miscommunication, delays, and lack of patient-centeredness. This report reviews experiences of more than 3000 patients in England regarding the effects of poor discharge. The results, which focus on older and homeless patients (given the increased potential for negative clinical consequences in these populations), highlights several practices that can improve the safety of hospital discharges.

Fisher JD, Freeman K, Clarke A, et al. Southampton, UK: NIHR Journals Library; May 2015.

The safety of emergency medical care delivered in conjunction with ambulance services has not been studied in the United Kingdom. Analyzing evidence associated with ambulance care, this scoping review found that inconsistent use of terminology was a problem and identified specific areas that require further research to develop safer models of prehospital care, including diagnosis and treatment, equipment use, and ambulance-to-hospital handover.