The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is a long-established source of patient safety data analysis and application-focused commentary. Their publishing output aims to generate improvements in their state as well as throughout health care. This open-access publication replaces the quarterly Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory newsletter.
Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2019.
Reducing adverse medication events is a worldwide challenge. This collection of technical reports explores key areas of concern that require action at a system level to improve: high-alert medications, polypharmacy, and medication use at care transitions. Each monograph provides an overview of the topic as well as practical improvement approaches for patients, clinicians, and organizations.
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.
This magazine article reports on the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack. Written by the patient's husband, the article outlines the failures that led to her death despite the fact that she was at the door of a hospital emergency department and on the phone with an emergency dispatcher. Factors discussed include overreliance on poorly functioning technology, communication failures, and lack of fail-safes.
Maternal death is a sentinel event. This news article reports on two incidents at one hospital that prompted investigations and describes strategies to improve maternal safety, including standardizing procedures and enhancing communication.
Scott J, Heavey E, Waring J, et al. BMJ Open. 2016;6:e011222.
Patients may provide a valuable perspective with regard to safety efforts. In this qualitative study, researchers developed and validated a survey for patients to provide feedback on safety issues about care transfers between different institutions. The authors suggest that further research is necessary to determine the usability of the survey and how best to use the patient feedback obtained.
Roter DL, Wolff J, Wu A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017;26(6):508-512.
Effective team communication is a key component of safe care. This commentary discusses the role of patient–family partnerships in enhancing health care safety in ambulatory and home settings. The authors describe a communication intervention to improve patient and family collaboration during ambulatory care visits. Components of the approach included engaging family participation in routine visits and coaching them to ask questions.
Patients who experience harm while receiving medical care can serve as powerful advocates for patient safety. This news article reports on a patient who became engaged in working to redesign processes to improve patient safety after he became paralyzed from the chest down due to a cascade of communication errors.
Tothy AS, Limper HM, Driscoll J, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2016;42:281-5.
This study reports on efforts to enhance communication between clinicians and patients in an urban pediatric emergency department. A rapid-change project resulted in significant improvement in patient perceptions of communication—clinicians were perceived as being more sensitive to patients' concerns and displayed better listening behaviors. Poor discharge communication in the emergency department has been linked to safety concerns in prior studies.
Transitions in care between inpatient and outpatient settings are an increasing concern for patient safety. Reporting on a fatal medication error that was missed by a patient's pharmacist and home health nurses, this newspaper article discusses various risks associated with hospital-to-home transitions such as insufficient case management and communication.
Coleman EA, Ground KL, Maul A. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2015;41:502-7.
Efforts to improve patient safety during care transitions have had mixed success, possibly due to failure to effectively engage family and caregivers in the transition process. This study reports on the development and validation of a novel survey instrument that measures family and caregivers' preparation and self-efficacy around supporting patients at the time of hospital discharge.
Information exchange can be challenging when nurses hand off care responsibilities at the end of their shifts. This news article discusses bedside shift reports as a strategy to improve communication among nursing staff and engage patients in their care.
Uhlig P, Raboin WE. Overland Park, KS: Oak Prairie Health Press; 2015. ISBN: 9780991411290.
This online resource provides instructions and templates for implementing team-based, collaborative care. This group's collaborative care model has received a John M. Eisenberg Award for contributions to patient safety.
Clinician communication with patients and families during transitions has been a focus of safety improvement efforts. This newspaper article describes insights from a resident physician regarding how poor communication between teams caring for patients can result in unnecessary care, family discomfort, and confusion for the patient receiving different information among varying teams.
Reporting on weaknesses in laboratory testing methods, this news article discusses patients' experiences with testing errors to illustrate how such failures can contribute to patient harm—such as missed or delayed diagnosis—and raises concerns about insufficient transparency, investigations, and regulations around laboratory facilities with poor processes.
Litchfield IJ, Bentham LM, Lilford RJ, et al. Br J Med Pract. 2015;65(632):e133-e140.
This interview study revealed shortcomings in the process for notifying patients of test results, mirroring findings from prior studies. Patients expressed a desire for consistent and timely test result notification and noted deficiencies in current processes.
Reporting on a case involving an overlooked test result that contributed to the death of a patient in the military medical system, this newspaper article highlights how insufficient transparency can prevent patients and their families from learning about what happened during their care and hinder opportunities to recognize processes in need of improvement.
This newspaper article describes how surgical complications, health care–associated infections, and ineffective patient–provider communication contributed to a patient's experience with harm and suggests that transparency around the incident and preoperative patient briefings could have improved the situation.
Stickney CA, Ziniel SI, Brett MS, et al. J Pediatr. 2014;165:1245-1251.e1.
In this study, health care providers and parents of children in a pediatric intensive care unit described their perceptions of family involvement in morning rounds. Although parents were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about being included in rounds, providers expressed some concerns and potential drawbacks, such as the avoidance of discussing uncomfortable topics due to presence of family.
Flatten M. Washington Examiner. August 18–22, 2014.
This series offers five magazine articles exploring how diagnostic error, delayed treatment, and insufficient attention to patient concerns and medical history within the Veterans Affairs health system contributed to preventable harm and death.
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