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Chui MA, Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä M, Snyder ME, eds. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2019;15(7):811-906.

Medication safety is a worldwide challenge. This special issue discusses factors affecting the reliability of the ordering, dispensing, and administration of medications across a range of environments. Articles cover topics such as the need to deepen understanding of safety in community pharmacies, the use of smart pumps for high-alert medications, and the international effort to reduce medication-related harm.
Blandford A, Dykes PC, Franklin BD, et al. Drug Saf. 2019;42:1157-1165.
Intravenous medication infusions are an important target for safety interventions. Many infused medications, such as opioids and chemotherapy, require vigilant adherence to protocol to prevent harm. Technical solutions to infusion errors such as computerized provider order entry, barcode medication administration, and smart infusion pumps have been implemented with some success. Investigators compared infusion errors in the United States, where all three technical interventions are common, to the United Kingdom, where those technical interventions are rare. Minor errors were common in each country, but only 0.8% of infusions placed patients at serious risk of harm. Although the details of errors in both countries differed in detail, rates of error and harm were similar. A WebM&M commentary described a chemotherapy infusion error that caused renal failure.
Catchpole K, Bisantz A, Hallbeck S, et al. Applied ergonomics. 2019;78:270-276.
Surgery requires specialized approaches to understand and prevent failure. This special issue features the work of multidisciplinary research teams that explored human factors and ergonomic concerns in the operating room that affect communication between robotic-assisted surgery teams, physical resilience of teams, instrument design and use, and poor implementation of briefings as improvement opportunities.
Tetteh EK. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2019;15:827-840.
This commentary introduces the World Health Organization effort to improve medication safety: Medication Without Harm. The author focuses on how strategies and tools, including an intervention framework and guidelines to support safe medication use, can be used in low-resource countries to reduce avoidable harm by 50% in 5 years.
Mianda S, Voce A. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018;18:747.
Clinical leadership training and teamwork training both augment the safety of maternity care. This systematic review found that most leadership training in maternity settings used a work-based learning approach rather than simulation or classroom interventions. The authors emphasize the importance of tailoring leadership interventions to low- and middle-income countries, where this training is less common.
Hamiel U, Hecht I, Nemet A, et al. Postgrad Med J. 2018;94:254-258.
Abbreviations are both ubiquitous in clinical documentation and frequently misinterpreted. This cross-sectional Israeli study found that only 1.2% of physicians could understand 50% or more of the abbreviations in ophthalmologists' notes. Israeli physicians document in Hebrew, but ophthalmologists there favor English abbreviations. The authors suggest that use of abbreviations should be discouraged due to the potential for misinterpretations to affect patient care.
Cheema E, Alhomoud FK, Kinsara ASA-D, et al. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0193510.
Pharmacists often perform medication reconciliation at hospital admission and discharge to prevent medication errors. This meta-analysis examined the efficacy of pharmacist-led medication reconciliation across 18 trials that included more than 6000 patients. Researchers found that pharmacist-led interventions reduced medication discrepancies but did not significantly affect adverse medication events or health care utilization. However, a recent large trial of pharmacist-led medication reconciliation with positive results was excluded from this meta-analysis.
Mekonnen AB, McLachlan AJ, Brien J-AE, et al. J Pharm Policy Pract. 2018;11:2.
Researchers conducted eight focus groups to understand how to better engage Ethiopian hospital pharmacists in medication safety. Most expressed enthusiasm about having an active role in safety as long as concerns related to space, resources, and training were addressed. A recent PSNet perspective examined team-based approaches to improving safety during hospital discharge.
Bejnordi BE, Veta M, van Diest PJ, et al. JAMA. 2017;318:2199-2210.
Diagnostic error is a growing area of focus within patient safety. Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve the diagnostic process, both in terms of accuracy and efficiency. In this study, investigators compared the use of automated deep learning algorithms for detecting metastatic disease in stained tissue sections of lymph nodes of women with breast cancer to pathologists' diagnoses. The algorithms were developed by researchers as part of a competition and their performance was assessed on a test set of 129 slides, 49 with metastatic disease and 80 without. A panel of 11 pathologists evaluated the same slides with a 2-hour time limit and one pathologist evaluated the slides without any time constraints. The authors conclude that some of the algorithms demonstrated better diagnostic performance than the pathologists did, but they suggest that further testing in a clinical setting is warranted. An accompanying editorial discusses the potential of artificial intelligence in health care.
Najafpour Z, Hasoumi M, Behzadi F, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2017;17:453.
Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is a tool that facilitates prospective risk assessment and is frequently used to assess the risk of various processes in health care. The authors describe the use of FMEA at a single institution to improve the safety of the blood transfusion process.
Siam B, Al-Kurd A, Simanovsky N, et al. JAMA Surg. 2017;152:679-685.
Balancing supervision and autonomy for trainee physicians is a contested area in patient safety. This analysis of medical record data at a single institution compared complication rates following acute appendectomy between surgical resident physicians and attending surgeons. As measured by a composite score, the complication rate did not differ between trainees and attending surgeons. There was no difference in the rate of follow-up imaging, length of stay, or duration of antibiotics following surgery. On average, trainees took about 9 minutes longer to complete the surgery. The authors conclude that trainees do not require attending supervision to safely perform appendectomies. A related editorial calls for greater surgical resident autonomy and notes the importance of real-life experience with procedures to prepare residents for independent practice. A past PSNet perspective explored this tension between supervision and autonomy in medical education.
Frankenthal D, Israeli A, Caraco Y, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017;65:e33-e38.
Inappropriate medication prescribing to older patients increases the risk of adverse drug events. This retrospective study assessed the sustainability of orally communicated medication recommendations based on the STOPP (Screening Tool of Older Persons potentially inappropriate Prescriptions) and START (Screening Tool to Alert Doctors to Right Treatment) criteria as compared to written medication review over time. The prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescriptions remained lower in the group receiving the orally communicated recommendations at 24-month follow-up. The authors conclude that direct communication about medications between pharmacists and prescribing providers may be more effective than written medication review.
Zohar D, Werber YT, Marom R, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017;26:653-662.
This randomized controlled trial randomized head nurses in inpatient settings to either receive individual feedback based on questionnaires from frontline nurses followed by goal-setting, versus a summary report of feedback at the end of the intervention. In the intervention group, patient care messages increased and blaming decreased, demonstrating that a brief and feasible intervention can enhance safety culture.
Alolayan A, Alkaiyat M, Ali Y, et al. BMJ Qual Improv Rep. 2017;6.
Complex care regimens and poor team communication can influence the safety of patients with cancer. This project report describes how an organization used a standardized communication tool to augment physician handovers of oncology patients. The authors utilized plan-do-study-act cycles to refine the process. They found that each adjustment addressed challenges to the use of the tool and over time physician compliance with the process increased.
World Innovation Summit for Health 2015. Doha, Qatar: Qatar Foundation; February 2015.
This conference focused on persisting barriers to patient safety worldwide and recommended strategies to achieve lasting improvement, including dedication to systems engineering, patient-centeredness, and process integration. The session summarized findings of a report developed for the event, Transforming Patient Safety: a Sector-wide Systems Approach. The proceedings collection includes the full text of the report, video of the panel, and podcasts with Margaret Murphy, Dr. Mary Dixon-Woods, Dr. Peter Pronovost, and other participants.
Drach-Zahavy A, Hadid N. J Adv Nurs. 2015;71:1135-45.
This prospective study examined 200 hospital nurse handovers. Documentation was missing in nearly half of patients' files, and dosage discrepancies were identified in 23% of cases. Use of strategies that emphasized the input and interaction of the incoming team—such as face-to-face verbal updates with questions—were associated with fewer treatment errors.
Schnoor J, Rogalski C, Frontini R, et al. Patient Saf Surg. 2015;9:12.
Look-alike sound-alike medications can contribute to confusion and result in drug administration errors. This commentary illustrates how switching to a generic brand of medication to save costs was a factor in recurring underdosing errors. The authors provide recommendations to improve the safety of stocking medications.