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Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at the patient's bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede a nurse’s ability to detect and prevent adverse events.
Gurwitz JH, Kapoor A, Garber L, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2021;181:610-618.
High-risk medications have the potential to cause serious patient harm if not administered correctly. In this randomized trial, a pharmacist-directed intervention (including in-home assessment by a clinical pharmacist, communication with the primary care team, and telephone follow-up) did not result in a lower rate of adverse drug events or medication errors involving high-risk drug classes during the posthospitalization period.
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.  
Bloodworth LS, Malinowski SS, Lirette ST, et al. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association: JAPhA. 2019;59:896-904.
Medication reconciliation is one potential strategy for preventing adverse events and readmissions. This study examined a pharmacist-led intervention involving collaborations with inpatient and community-based pharmacists to provide pre-discharge and 30-day medication reconciliation. There were indications that this type of intervention can reduce readmission rates, but further investigation in larger populations is necessary.  
This Primer provides an overview of the history and current status of the patient safety field and key definitions and concepts. It links to other Patient Safety Primers that discuss the concepts in more detail.
Pandya C, Clarke T, Scarsella E, et al. J Oncol Pract. 2019;15:e480-e489.
Care transitions and handoffs represent a vulnerable time for patients, as failure to communicate important clinical information may occur with the potential for harm. In this pre–post study, researchers found that implementation of an electronic health record tool designed to improve the handoff between oncology clinic and infusion nurses was associated with a reduction in medication errors, shorter average patient waiting time, and better communication between nurses.
Given BA. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2019;35:374-379.
Cancer patients often rely on family members or paid caregivers to assist with care maintenance at home, such as taking medications and mobility support. This review highlights common safety gaps in home cancer care. The authors suggest that nurses can help assess caregiver knowledge and provide education to address safety issues.
National Pharmacy Association; NPA.
This website for independent community pharmacy owners across the United Kingdom features both free and members-only guidance, reporting platforms, and document templates to support patient safety. It includes reporting tools and incident analysis reports for providers in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Topics covered in the communications include look-alike and sound-alike drugs, patient safety audits, and safe dispensing of liquid medications.
Cheong V-L, Tomlinson J, Khan S, Petty D. Prescriber. 2019;30:29-34.
Geriatric patients are particularly vulnerable to medication-related harm. This article summarizes types of incidents and contributing factors to adverse drug events in older patients after hospital discharge. The authors recommend strategies to reduce medication-related harm, including discharge communication improvements, primary care collaboration, and postdischarge patient education.
Pellegrin K, Lozano A, Miyamura J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:103-110.
Older adults frequently encounter medication-related harm, which may result in preventable hospitalizations. In six Hawaiian hospitals, hospital pharmacists identified older patients at risk of medication problems and assigned them to a community pharmacist who coordinated their medications across prescribers for 1 year after discharge. This post-hoc analysis of the intervention found that most medication-related harm occurred in the community (70%) rather than the hospital and that the intervention successfully reduced community-acquired harm.
Sederstrom J.
Medication errors continue to be a worldwide patient safety challenge that requires both systems and individual practice strategies for improvement. This magazine article describes how pharmacists can address failures associated with processing, dosing, care transitions, and information sharing to prevent medication errors.
Grant S, Guthrie B. Soc Sci Med. 2018;203:43-50.
Past studies have explored the impact of nurse and clinician workload on the quality of care. In this study, researchers examined how general practitioners and administrative staff across eight United Kingdom practices work together to fill prescription requests and manage test results.

Todd DW, Bennett JD, eds. Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Am. 2017;29:121-244.

Articles in this special issue provide insights into how human error can affect the safety of oral and maxillofacial surgery, a primarily ambulatory environment. The authors cover topics such as simulation training, wrong-site surgery, and the safety of office-based anesthesia.
Kern E, Dingae MB, Langmack EL, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017;43:212-223.
Achieving accurate medication reconciliation during care transitions helps promote patient safety. Using data from the electronic health record, researchers developed and validated metrics to assess performance of medication reconciliation in the ambulatory setting.
Walsh KE, Bacic J, Phillips BD, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e177-e185.
This study sought to improve safe at-home pediatric medication administration through an interactive voice response intervention. Researchers found that medication dosing errors and nonadherence were common. The intervention increased medication communication but did not make parents more likely to bring medications to a physician visit as recommended. This study highlights the challenges of safe medication management for outpatients.
Behrman S, Wilkinson P, Lloyd H, et al. Age Ageing. 2017;46:518-521.
Patients with dementia have complex medical and caregiving needs, and they are at risk for adverse events. This qualitative interview study of caregivers and health care workers identified medication errors, lack of communication among care team members, and caregiver stress as key patient safety concerns for patients with dementia. The authors emphasize the tradeoffs between risk of harm and patient autonomy.
Ensing HT, Koster ES, Stuijt CCM, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2015;37:430-4.
Patients are susceptible to various problems following hospital discharge, including medication errors. This commentary suggests that improving the transfer of patient medication history, performing home visits to follow up with patients, and collaboration between primary care and community pharmacy can help reduce adverse drug events after patients are discharged from the hospital.
An elderly man on warfarin and aspirin for chronic atrial fibrillation and previous cerebrovascular accident presented to the emergency department with a severe headache. Found to have bilateral subdural hematomas and a supratherapeutic INR (4.9), he was admitted to the ICU. Even though the patient was discharged with his warfarin discontinued permanently, the outpatient pharmacy kept it on the active medication list and refilled his mail order prescription automatically, leading again to an elevated INR.
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.