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The PSNet Collection: All Content

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.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 46 Results
Patient Safety Innovation November 16, 2022

While electronic health records, computerized provider order entry, and clinical decision support have increased patient safety, they can also create new challenges such as alert fatigue. One medical center developed and implemented a program to identify and reduce the number of alerts clinicians encounter every day. 

Braun EJ, Singh S, Penlesky AC, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:716-724.
Early warning systems (EWS) use patient data from the electronic health record to alert clinicians to potential patient deterioration. Twelve months after a new EWS was implemented in one hospital, nurses were interviewed to gather their perspectives on the program experience, utility, and implementation. Six themes emerged: timeliness, lack of accuracy, workflow interruptions, actionability of alerts, underappreciation of core nursing skills, and opportunity cost.
Bernstein SL, Catchpole K, Kelechi TJ, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:309-318.
Maternal morbidity and mortality continues to be a significant patient safety problem. This mixed-methods study identified system-level factors affecting registered nurses during care of people in labor experiencing clinical deterioration. Task overload, missing or inadequate tools and technology, and a crowded physical environment were all identified as performance obstacles. Improving nurse workload and involving nurses in the redesign of tools and technology could provide a meaningful way to reduce maternal morbidity.
Perspective on Safety March 31, 2022

Errors in medication management and administration are major threats to patient safety. This piece explores issues with opioid and nursing-sensitive medication safety as well as medication safety in older adults. Future research directions in medication safety are also discussed.

Curated Libraries
January 14, 2022
The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety...
Winters BD, Slota JM, Bilimoria KY. JAMA. 2021;326:1207-1208.
Alarm fatigue is a pervasive contributor to distractions and error. This discussion examines how, while minimizing nuisance alarms is important, those efforts need to be accompanied by safety culture enhancements to realize lasting progress toward alarm reduction.
Shah SN, Amato MG, Garlo KG, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:1081-1087.
Clinical decision support (CDS) alerts can improve patient safety, and prior research suggests that monitoring alert overrides can identify errors. Over a one-year period, this study found that medication-related CDS alerts associated with renal insufficiency were nearly always deemed inappropriate and were all overridden. These findings highlight the need for improvements in alert design, implementation, and monitoring of alert performance to ensure alerts are patient-specific and clinically appropriate.  
Lewandowska K, Weisbrot M, Cieloszyk A, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17:8409.
Alarm fatigue, which can lead to desensitization and threaten patient safety, is particularly concerning in intensive care settings. This systematic review concluded that alarm fatigue may have serious consequences for both patients and nursing staff. Included studies reported that nurses considered alarms to be burdensome, too frequent, interfering with patient care, and resulted in distrust in the alarm system. These findings point to the need for a strategy for alarm management and measuring alarm fatigue.  
Alshahrani F, Marriott JF, Cox AR. Int J Clin Pharm. 2020;43:884-892.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) can prevent prescribing errors, but patient safety threats persist. Based on qualitative interviews with multidisciplinary prescribers, the authors identified several issues related to CPOE interacting within a complex prescribing environment, including alert fatigue, remote prescribing, and default auto-population of dosages.
Fleischman W, Ciliberto B, Rozanski N, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2020;38:1072-1076.
In this prospective study, researchers conducted direct observations in one urban, academic Emergency Department (ED) to determine whether and which ED monitor alarms led to observable changes in patients’ care. During 53 hours of observation, there were 1,049 alarms associated with 146 patients, resulting in clinical management changes in 5 patients. Researchers observed that staff did not observably respond to nearly two-thirds of alarms, which may be a sign of alarm fatigue.
Myers LC, Heard L, Mort E. Am J Crit Care. 2020;29:174-181.
This study reviewed medical malpractice claims data between 2007 and 2016 to describe the types of patient safety events involving critical care nurses. Decubitus ulcers were the most common diagnosis in claims involving ICU nurses and compared to nurses in emergency departments and operating rooms, ICU nurses were likely to have a malpractice claim alleging failure to monitor.
Co Z, Holmgren AJ, Classen DC, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020;27:1252-1258.
Using data from the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) Evaluation Tool, this study compared hospital performance against fatal orders and nuisance orders. From 2017 to 2018, overall performance increased and fatal order performance improved slightly; there was no significant change in nuisance order performance; however, these results indicate that fatal alerts are not being prioritized and that over-alerting in some cases may be contributing to alert fatigue.
WebM&M Case April 29, 2020
A 54-year old women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was admitted for chronic respiratory failure. Due to severe hypoxemia, she was intubated, mechanically ventilated and required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). During the hospitalization, she developed clotting problems, which necessitated transfer to the operating room to change one of the ECMO components. On the way back to the intensive care unit, a piece of equipment became snagged on the elevator door and the system alarmed.
Pater CM, Sosa TK, Boyer J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:717-726.
Continuous vital sign monitoring can generate a large volume of alarm notifications that may not represent meaningful change in clinical status and can lead to alarm fatigue, which has become a patient safety priority. This article describes Plan-Do-Study-Act processes employed in the acute care cardiology unit of a large, urban academic medical center that resulted in a reduction in alarm notifications of 68% over 2.5 years. Patient safety was maintained as these improvements were made and reductions in alarm notifications were sustained for more than 18 months.
Yeh J, Wilson R, Young L, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2019;35:115-122.
Prior research has found that nonactionable alarms are common and contribute to alarm fatigue among providers in intensive care units. This single center study employed an interprofessional team-based approach to adjust the default thresholds for arrhythmias and specific parameters such as oxygen saturation, which resulted in a nearly 47% reduction in nonactionable alarms over a two-week period.
Ruppel H, Liu V. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:693-696.
Auditory warnings to flag patients at risk for sepsis can have unintended consequences, such as alert fatigue or distraction. Although heightened awareness of sepsis is crucial due to its potential for harm, the authors call for rigorous study and testing of these systems to reduce their negative effects. They highlight how recently published negative results illustrate the importance of designing sepsis alerting functions that are safe and effective. A WebM&M commentary discussed a case involving a misdiagnosis of sepsis.
Perspective on Safety July 1, 2019
Dr. Saria is the John C. Malone Assistant Professor of computer science, statistics, and health policy at Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on developing next generation diagnostic, surveillance, and treatment planning tools to reduce adverse events and individualize health care for complex diseases. We spoke with her about artificial intelligence in health care.
Ross C. STAT. May 13, 2019.
Nuisance alarms, interruptions, and insufficient staff availability can hinder effective monitoring and response to acute patient deterioration. This news article reports on how hospital logistics centers are working toward utilizing artificial intelligence to improve clinician response to alarms by proactively identifying hospitalized patients at the highest risk for heart failure to trigger emergency response teams when their condition rapidly declines.