The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Murphy DR, Zimolzak AJ, Upadhyay DK, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2023;30:1526-1531.
Measuring diagnostic performance is essential to identifying opportunities for improvement. In this study, researchers developed and evaluated two electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) to assess the quality of colorectal and lung cancer diagnosis. Each measure used data from the electronic health record (EHR) to identify abnormal test results, evidence of appropriate follow-up, and exclusions that signified unnecessary follow-up. The authors describe the measure testing results and outline the challenges in working with unstructured EHR data.
Karlic KJ, Valley TS, Cagino LM, et al. Am J Med Qual. 2023;38:117-121.
Because patients discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU) are at increased risk of readmission and post-ICU adverse events, some hospitals have opened post-ICU clinics. This article describes safety threats identified by post-ICU clinic staff. Medication errors and inadequate medical follow-up made up nearly half of identified safety threats. More than two-thirds were preventable or ameliorable.
Baffoe JO, Moczygemba LR, Brown CM. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2023;63:518-528.
Minoritized and vulnerable people often experience delays in care due to systemic biases. This survey study examined the association between perceived discrimination at community pharmacies and foregoing or delaying picking up medications. Participants reported discrimination based on race, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, income, and prescription insurance; those participants were more likely to delay picking up their medications. There was no association with discrimination and foregoing medications.
Mills PD, Louis RP, Yackel E. J Healthc Qual. 2023;45:242-253.
Changes in healthcare delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in delays in care that can lead to patient harm. In this study using patient safety event data submitted to the VHA National Center of Patient Safety, researchers identified healthcare delays involving laboratory results, treatment and interventional procedures, and diagnosis.
Washington A, Randall J. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2023;10:883-891.
Discrimination can contribute to health inequities and exacerbate disparities in cancer care. In this study, researchers used a survey tool and qualitative interviews to explore the experiences of perceived discrimination for Black women and how it impacts cervical cancer prevention. Study findings suggest that perceived high degrees of discrimination create mistrust between patients and providers and can impact health outcomes.
Hoffmann DE, Fillingim RB, Veasley C. J Law Med Ethics. 2022;50:519-541.
Women’s pain has been underestimated compared to men’s pain, and treatments differ based on gender. This commentary revisits the findings from the 2001 article The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain. The authors state progress has been made in the past 20 years, but disparities still exist. Additional research is needed, particularly into chronic pain conditions that are more common in women.
Premature diagnostic closure, also called anchoring bias, relies on initial diagnostic impression without continuing to explore differential diagnoses. This commentary proposes a cognitive forcing strategy of “endpoint diagnosis,” or continuing to ask “why” until additional diagnostic evaluations have been exhausted. The authors describe four common contexts when endpoint diagnoses are not pursued or reached.
Delayed referrals from primary care providers to specialty care can lead to delayed diagnoses and patient harm. This retrospective analysis examined differences in timely versus delayed referrals for urgent skin cancer evaluations at one institution. Among 320 referrals occurring in 2018, 38% of evaluations occurred 31 days or more after the referral and nearly 11% of referrals were never completed. Delayed referrals were more common among patients who did not speak English and racial/ethnic minorities.
Pitts S, Yang Y, Thomas BA, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;29:2101-2104.
The CancelRx tool is designed to improve communication between electronic health record (EHR) systems and pharmacy dispensing software. However, interoperability issues can limit the tool’s usefulness and result in inadvertent dispensing of discontinued medications. This evaluation of discontinued medications at one health systems over a one-month period found that only one-third to one-half of discontinued medications were e-prescribed using the same EHR system and would result in a CancelRx message to the pharmacy; the remainder of discontinued medications were patient-reported or reconciled from outside sources.
Roberts TJ, Sellars MC, Sands JM, et al. JCO Oncol Pract. 2022;18:833-839.
Missed diagnosis of infectious diseases can have serious consequences for patient safety. This article describes a delayed diagnosis of disseminated tuberculosis in a patient with lung cancer and discusses the how cognitive biases and systems failures contributed to the diagnostic error.
Clayton DA, Eguchi MM, Kerr KF, et al. Med Decis Making. 2023;43:164-174.
Metacognition (e.g., when one reflects on one’s own decision and decision making) is an approach to reducing diagnostic errors. Using data from the Melanoma Pathology Study (M-PATH) and Breast Pathology Study (B-PATH), researchers assed pathologists’ metacognition by examining their diagnostic accuracy and self-confidence. Results showed pathologists with increased metacognition sensitivity were more likely to request a second opinion for incorrect diagnosis than they were for a correct diagnosis.
Zimolzak AJ, Singh H, Murphy DR, et al. BMJ Health Care Inform. 2022;29(1):e100565.
Patient safety algorithms developed through research must also be implemented into clinical practice. This article describes the process of translating an electronic health record-based algorithm for detecting missed follow-up of colorectal or lung cancer testing, from research into practice. All 12 test sites were able to successfully implement the trigger and identify appropriate cases.
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.
Domingo J, Galal G, Huang J. NEJM Catalyst. 2022;3.
Failure to follow up on abnormal diagnostic test results can cause delays in patients receiving appropriate care. This hospital used an artificial intelligence natural language processing system to identify radiology reports requiring follow-up. The system triggered automated notifications to the patient and ordering provider, and tracked follow-ups to completion. System development, deployment and next steps are detailed.
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.
Nehls N, Yap TS, Salant T, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001603.
Incomplete or delayed referrals from primary care providers to specialty care can cause diagnostic delays and patient harm. A systems engineering analysis was conducted to identify vulnerabilities in the referral process and develop a framework to close the loop between primary and specialty care. Low reliability processes, such as workarounds, were identified and human factors approaches were recommended to improve successful referral rates.
Rajan SS, Baldwin J, 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.