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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.

London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; 2021. ISBN 9781528627016. 

Lack of appropriate follow up of diagnostic imaging can result in care delays, patient harm, and death. This report summarizes an investigation of 25 imaging failures in the British National Health Service (NHS). The analysis identified communication and coordination issues resulting in lack of action and reporting of unanticipated findings to properly advance care. Recommendations to improve imaging in the NHS include use of previous analyses to enhance learning from failure.

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. 

de Bienassis K, Llena-Nozal A, Klazinga N for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Paris, France: OECD Publishing; 2020. OECD Health Working Papers, No. 121.

Adverse events in long term care facilities are acerbated due to staffing, training and financial challenges. This report examined the costs of avoidable problems in long term care and suggests prevention strategies that center on workforce skill development and safety culture improvement.

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 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.
Nakhleh RE, Volmar KE, eds. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature; 2019. ISBN: 9783030184636.
Surgical specimen and laboratory process problems can affect diagnosis. This publication examines factors that contribute to errors across the surgical pathology process and reviews strategies to reduce their impact on care. Chapters discuss areas of focus to encourage process improvement and error response, such as information technology, specimen tracking, root cause analysis, and disclosure.
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.
Hochman M, Bourgoin A, Saluja S, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2019. AHRQ Publication No. 18(19)-0055-EF.
Programs are in place to address hospital discharge process gaps that contribute to readmissions. This report summarizes research on primary care perspectives on reducing readmissions. Interventions identified include automated alerting to primary care providers when patients are hospitalized and the patient-centered medical home model.
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.
Pronovost P, Johns MME, Palmer S, et al, eds. Washington, DC: National Academy of Medicine; 2018. ISBN: 9781947103122.
Although health information technology was implemented to improve safety, it has resulted in unintended consequences such as clinician burnout and perpetuation of incorrect information. This publication explores the barriers to achieving the interoperability needed to build a robust digital infrastructure that will seamlessly and reliably share information across the complex system of health care. The report advocates for adjusting purchasing behaviors to focus less on the price and features of each product and to instead look for interoperable technologies. The report outlines five action priorities to guide leadership decision-making around procurement, including championing systemwide interoperability and identifying goals and requirements. A PSNet interview discussed potential consequences of the digitization of health care.
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.
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; March 18, 2016. Publication GAO-16-328.
This analysis found that scheduling problems among patients seeking primary care from Veterans Affairs health systems continue to occur. The report outlines weaknesses in the data collected to measure and evaluate veterans' access to primary care and spotlights the need to develop and disseminate a comprehensive policy for Veterans Affairs schedulers to reduce risk of scheduling errors.
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.