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Devarajan V, Nadeau NL, Creedon JK, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;149:e2020014696.
Several factors contribute to the increased risk of prescribing errors for children, including weight-based dosing and drug formulation. This quality improvement project in one pediatric emergency department identified four key drivers and implemented four interventions to reduce errors. Prescribing errors were reduced across three plan-do-study-act cycles, and improvements were maintained six months after the final cycle.
Powell ES, Bond WF, Barker LT, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:302-309.
Telehealth is increasingly used to connect rural hospitals with specialists in other areas and can improve patient outcomes. This study found that in situ simulation training in rural emergency departments resulted in small increases in the use of telemedicine for patients presenting with sepsis and led to improvements in sepsis process care outcomes.
Bentley SK, Meshel A, Boehm L, et al. Adv Simul (Lond). 2022;7:15.
In situ simulations are an effective method to identify latent safety threats (LST). Seventy-four in situ cardiac arrest simulations were conducted in one hospital, identifying 106 unique LSTs. Four LSTs were deemed imminent safety threats and were immediately resolved following debrief; another 15 were prioritized as high-risk.
Paterson EP, Manning KB, Schmidt MD, et al. J Emerg Nurs. 2022;48:319-327.
Automated dispensing cabinets (ADCs) can reduce medication dispensing errors by requiring pharmacist verification. This study found that medication overrides (i.e., bypassing pharmacist review before administration) in one pediatric emergency department were frequently not due to an emergent situation requiring immediate medication administration and could have been avoided.
Baartmans MC, Hooftman J, Zwaan L, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Apr 21.
Understanding human causes of diagnostic errors can lead to more specific targeted, specific recommendations and interventions. Using three classification instruments, researchers examined a series of serious adverse events related to diagnostic errors in the emergency department. Most of the human errors were based on intended actions and could be classified as mistakes or violations. Errors were more frequently made during the assessment and testing phases of the diagnostic process.
Hansen M, Harrod T, Bahr N, et al. Acad Med. 2022;97:696-703.
Strong physician leadership during clinical crisis can help improve patient outcomes. In this randomized controlled trial, obstetrics-gynecology and emergency medicine residents participated in one of three study arms using high-fidelity mannequins. One study arm received a bespoke leadership curriculum, one received a modified version TeamSTEPPS curriculum, and the third received no leadership training. Participants in both curriculum arms improved leadership scores from “average” before the training to “good” following the training and continuing to six months. The control arm remained unchanged at “average” before and after.
Tate K, McLane P, Reid C, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2022;11:e001639.
Older adults are vulnerable to patient safety events during care transitions. The Older Persons’ Transitions in Care (OPTIC) study prospectively tracked long-term care residents’ transitions and applied the IOM’s quality of care domains to develop 49 measures for quality of care for the transition process (e.g., safety, timeliness, efficiency, effectiveness, and patient-centered care) between long-term care and emergency department settings.
Brady KJS, Barlam TF, Trockel MT, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:287-297.
Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics to treat viral illnesses is an ongoing patient safety threat. This study examined the association between clinician depression, anxiety, and burnout and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in outpatient care. Depression and anxiety, but not burnout, were associated with increased adjusted odds of inappropriate prescribing for RTIs.
Morsø L, Birkeland S, Walløe S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:271-279.
Patient complaints can provide insights into safety threats and system weaknesses. This study used the healthcare complaints analysis tool (HCAT) to identify and categorize safety problems in emergency care. Most problems arose during examination/diagnosis and frequently resulted in diagnostic errors or errors of omission.
Salwei ME, Hoonakker PLT, Carayon P, et al. Hum Factors. 2022;Epub Apr 4.
Clinical decision support (CDS) systems are designed to improve diagnosis. Researchers surveyed emergency department physicians about their evaluation of human factors-based CDS systems to improve diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. Although perceived usability was high, use of the CDS tool in the real clinical environment was low; the authors identified several barriers to use, including lack of workflow integration.
Lin MP, Vargas-Torres C, Shin-Kim J, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2022;53:135-139.
Drug shortages can result in patient harm, such as dosing errors from a medication substitution. In this study, 28 of the 30 most frequently used medications in the emergency department experienced shortages between 2006 and 2019. The most common reasons for shortages were manufacturing delays and increased demand. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing drug shortages.
Navathe AS, Liao JM, Yan XS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2022;41:424-433.
Opioid overdose and misuse continues to be a major public health concern with numerous policy- and organization-level approaches to encourage appropriate clinician prescribing. A northern California health system studied the effects of three interventions (individual audit feedback, peer comparison, both combined) as compared to usual care at several emergency department and urgent care sites. Peer comparison and the combined interventions resulted in a significant decrease in pills per prescription.
Patel SJ, Ipsaro A, Brady PW. Hosp Pediatr. 2022;Epub Feb 28.
Diagnostic uncertainty can arise in complex clinical scenarios. This qualitative study explored how physicians in pediatric emergency and inpatient settings mitigate diagnostic uncertainty. Participants discussed common mitigation strategies, such as employing a “diagnostic pause.” The authors also noted outstanding gaps regarding communicating diagnostic uncertainty to families.
Staal J, Speelman M, Brand R, et al. BMC Med Educ. 2022;22:256.
Diagnostic safety is an essential component of medical training. In this study, medical interns reviewed six clinical cases in which the referral letters from the general practitioner suggested a correct diagnosis, an incorrect diagnosis, or lacked a diagnostic suggestion. Researchers found that diagnostic suggestions in the referral letter did not influence subsequent diagnostic accuracy but did reduce the number of diagnoses considered.  

An increasing volume of patients presenting for acute care can create a need for more ICU beds and intensivists and lead to longer wait times and boarding of critically ill patients in the emergency department (ED).1 Data suggest that boarding of critically ill patients for more than 6 hours in the emergency department leads to poorer outcomes and increased mortality.2,3 To address this issue, University of Michigan Health, part of Michigan Medicine, developed an ED-based ICU, the first of its kind, in its 1,000-bed adult hospital.

Lam D, Dominguez F, Leonard J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 22.
Trigger tools and incident reporting systems are two commonly used methods for detecting adverse events.  This retrospective study compared the performance of an electronic trigger tool plus manual screening versus existing incident reporting systems for identifying probable diagnostic errors among children with unplanned admissions following a prior emergency department (ED) visit. Of the diagnostic errors identified by the trigger tool and substantiated by manual review, less than 10% were identified through existing incident reporting systems.
Dieckmann P, Tulloch S, Dalgaard AE, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:307.
When staff feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to speak up about safety concerns. This study sought to explore the link between psychological safety and improvement work, and whether an existing model captures all the relevant ‘antecedents’ and ‘consequences’ of psychological safety.
Kukielka E, Jones R. Patient Safety. 2022;4:49-59.
Medication errors can occur in all clinical settings, but can have especially devastating results in emergency departments (EDs). Between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2020, 250 serious medication errors occurring in the ED were reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System. Errors were more likely to occur on weekends and between 12:00 pm and midnight; patients were more likely to be women. Potential strategies to reduce serious medication errors (e.g., inclusion of emergency medicine pharmacists in patient care) are discussed.
LaScala EC, Monroe AK, Hall GA, et al. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2022;38:e387-e392.
Several factors contribute to pediatric antibiotic medication errors in the emergency department, such as the frequent use of verbal orders and the need for  weight-based dosing. Results of this study align with previous research and reinforce the need for further investigation and interventions to reduce antibiotic medication errors such as computerized provider order entry.
Hamad DM, Mandell SP, Stewart RM, et al. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;92:473-480.
By analyzing errors that lead to preventable or potentially preventable deaths in trauma care, healthcare organizations can develop mitigation strategies to prevent those errors from reoccurring. This study classified events anonymously reported by trauma centers using the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations Patient Safety Event Taxonomy. Mitigation strategies were most often low-level, person-focused (e.g., education and training).