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Burfeind KG, Zarnegarnia Y, Tekkali P, et al. Anesth Analg. 2022;Epub Aug 19.
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Beers Criteria serves as a guideline for prescribers to avoid potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) in geriatric patients (age 65 years and older). In this retrospective cohort study, nearly 70% of geriatric patients undergoing elective surgery received at least one PIM identified by the Beers Criteria. Patients, including cognitively impaired and frail patients, who received at least one PIM, had longer length of hospital stay after surgery.
Lambert BL, Schiff GD. J Am Coll Clin Pharm. 2022;5:981-987.
In the wake of the criminal conviction of a nurse involved in a medical error, numerous organizations and institutions have warned of the negative impact it could have on learning and error disclosure. This commentary presents strategies to reduce the risk of criminal prosecution for pharmacists, including education of prosecutors and expert witnesses and minimization of overrides and workarounds.

This WebM&M highlights two cases where home diabetes medications were not reviewed during medication reconciliation and the preventable harm that could have occurred. The commentary discusses the importance of medication reconciliation, how to compile the ‘best possible medication history’, and how pharmacy staff roles and responsibilities can reduce medication errors.

Iredell B, Mourad H, Nickman NA, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:730-735.
The advantages of automation can be safely achieved only when the technologies are implemented into processes that support their proper use in regular and urgent situations. This guideline outlines considerations for the safe use of computerized compounding devices to prepare parenteral nutrition admixtures with the broader application to other IV preparations in mind. Effective policy, training, system variation, and vendor partnerships are elements discussed.
Reese T, Wright A, Liu S, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:1086-1095.
Computerized decision support alerts for drug-drug interactions are commonly overridden by clinicians. This study examined fifteen well-known drug-drug interactions and identified risk factors that could reduce risk in the majority of interactions (e.g., medication order timing, medication dose, and patient factors).

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.

Shah AS, Hollingsworth EK, Shotwell MS, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1180-1189.
Medication reconciliations, including conducting a best possible medication history (BPMH), may occur multiple times during a hospital stay, especially at admission and discharge. By conducting BPMH analysis of 372 hospitalized older adults taking at least 5 medications at admission, researchers found that nearly 90% had at least one discrepancy. Lower age, total prehospital medication count, and admission from a non-home setting were statistically associated with more discrepancies.
Ebbens MM, Gombert-Handoko KB, Wesselink EJ, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;22:2553-2558.e1.
Medication reconciliation has been shown to reduce medication errors but is a time-consuming process. This study compared medication reconciliation via a patient portal with those performed by a pharmacy technician (usual care). Medication discrepancies were similar between both groups, and patients were satisfied using the patient portal, which saved 6.8 minutes per patient compared with usual care.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. November 4, 2021;26(22); 1-4.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment during life-threatening emergencies such as strokes can result in irreversible patient harm. This article discusses a variety of factors contributing to errors in administering hypertonic sodium chloride in emergent situations. The piece shares recommendations touching on various elements of the medication delivery process to enhance safety.

A 78-year-old woman with macular degeneration presented for a pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) with an eye block. At this particular hospital, eye cases under MAC are typically performed with an eye block by the surgeon after the anesthesiologist has administered some short-acting sedation, commonly with remifentanil. On this day, there was a shortage of premixed remifentanil and the resident – who was unfamiliar with the process of drug dilution – incorrectly diluted the remifentanil solution.

Breuker C, Macioce V, Mura T, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e645-e652.
In this prospective observational study, hospital pharmacy staff obtained the best possible medication history for adult patients at admission to and discharge from one French hospital. Unintended medication discrepancies were identified in nearly 30% of patients. Most medication errors were omissions and risk of error increased with the number of medications.
Maxwell E, Amerine J, Carlton G, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;78:s88-s94.
Clinical decision support (CDS) tools are intended to enhance care decision and delivery processes. This single-site retrospective study evaluated whether a CDS tool can reduce discharge prescription errors for patients receiving a medication substitution at admission. Findings indicate that use of CDS did not result in a decrease in discharge prescription omissions, duplications, or inappropriate medication reconciliation.

Mirtallo JM, Ayers P. Pharmacy Practice News. September 7, 2021;48(9):17-20.

Parenteral nutrition (PN) processes contain various steps that are prone to errors resulting in patient harm. This article discusses standardization as a strategy to reduce the potential for missteps and shares resources for process evaluation to improve PN reliability and safety.
Stuijt CCM, Bekker CL, van den Bemt BJF, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;17:1426-1432.
This multicenter prospective study explored the effect of medication reconciliation on patient-reported, potential adverse events post-discharge. Although the intervention – which consisted of a pharmacy team providing patient both education and medication review upon admission and discharge as well as information transfer to primary care – did not decrease the proportion of patients with adverse events, it did reduce the number of potential adverse events.
Kabir R, Liaw S, Cerise J, et al. J Pharm Pract. 2021:089719002110212.
The best possible medication history (BPMH) is the gold standard of medication reconciliation of a patient’s prescribed and over-the-counter medications. In this study, Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhTs) obtained BPMH from patients admitted through the emergency department. In Quality Assurance reviews, the CPhTs identified medication discrepancies at a similar rate to pharmacists, indicating that CPhTs may be a cost-effective alternative to pharmacists in obtaining BPMH.
Cattaneo D, Pasina L, Maggioni AP, et al. Drugs Aging. 2021;38:341-346.
Older adults are at increased risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infections. This study examined the potential severe drug-drug interactions (DDI) among hospitalized older adults taking two or more medications at admission and discharge. There was a significant increase in prescription of proton pump inhibitors and heparins from admission to discharge. Clinical decision support systems should be used to assess potential DDI with particular attention paid to the risk of bleeding complications linked to heparin-based DDIs.

MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; January 27, 2021.  

Labeling mistakes in the pharmaceutical production cycle can remain undetected until the affected medication reaches a patient. This alert reports a recall of a neuromuscular blocker for use in surgery due to it being mislabeled as a medication to increase blood pressure. 

March 2020--January 2021.

Medication safety is improved through the sharing of frontline improvement experiences and concerns. These articles share recommendations to reduce risks associated with distinct areas of the medication use process. The topics discuss areas that require specific attention during the COVID-19 pandemic such as the use of smart pumps and automated dispensing cabinets.

A 58-year-old female receiving treatment for transformed lymphoma was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with E. coli bacteremia and colitis secondary to neutropenia, and ongoing hiccups lasting more than 48 hours. She was prescribed thioridazine 10 mg twice daily for the hiccups and received four doses without resolution; the dose was then increased to 15 mg and again to 25 mg without resolution.

A 44-year old man with hypertension and diabetes was admitted with an open wound on the ball of his right foot that could be probed to the bone and evidence of diabetic ketoacidosis. Over the course of the hospitalization, he had ongoing hypokalemia, low magnesium levels, an electrocardiogram showing a prolonged QT interval, ultimately leading to cardiac arrest due to torsades de pointes (an unusual form of ventricular tachycardia that can be fatal if left untreated). The commentary discusses the use of protocol-based management of chronic medical conditions, the inclusion of interprofessio