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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 improvement strategies, and resources for design.

Holmes J, Chipman M, Barbour T, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48(1):12-24.
Air medical transport carries unique patient safety risks. In this study, researchers used simulation training and healthcare failure mode and effect analysis (HFMEA) to identify latent safety threats related to patient transport via helicopter. This approach identified 31 latent safety threats (18 were deemed critical) related to care coordination, facilities, equipment, and devices.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement. March 15 - April 26, 2022.

Root cause analysis (RCA) is a widely recognized retrospective strategy for learning from failure that is challenging to implement. This series of webinars will feature an innovative approach to RCA that expands on the concept to facilitate its use in incident investigations. Instructors for the series will include Dr. Terry Fairbanks and Dr. Tejal K. Gandhi.

Wiig S, Haraldseid-Driftland C, Tvete Zachrisen R, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):e1707-e1718.  

Families and next of kin are important partners in patient safety. In two Norwegian counties, next of kin who had lost a family member due to an adverse event participated in in-person meetings with inspectors as part of the regulatory investigation. This study explored the experiences and perspectives of the next of kin (Part 1) and regulatory inspectors (Part 2) involved in this new approach to next-of-kin involvement in regulatory investigations. Despite being an emotionally challenging process, next of kin viewed participation in the regulatory investigation as a positive experience and believed that their contributions improved the investigation process.
Weber L, Schulze I, Jaehde U. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;Epub Nov 18.
Chemotherapy administration errors can result in serious patient harm. Using failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), researchers identified potential failures related to the medication process for intravenous chemotherapy. Common failures included incorrect patient information, non-standardized chemotherapy protocols, and problems related to supportive therapy.
Härkänen M, Haatainen K, Vehviläinen-Julkunen K, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(17):9206.
Building on previous research on the use of text mining related to medication administration error incidents, researchers in this study found that artificial intelligence can be used to accurately classify the free text of medication incident reports causing serious or moderate harm, to identify target risk management areas.
Debriefing is an important strategy for learning about and making improvements in individual, team, and system performance. It is one of the central learning tools in simulation training and is also recommended after significant clinical events.
Pueyo-López C, Sánchez-Cuervo M, Vélez-Díaz-Pallarés M, et al. J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2021;27(7):1588-1595.
Researchers in this study used healthcare failure mode and effect analysis (HFMEA) to identify and reduce errors during chemotherapy preparation. Nine potential failure modes were identified – wrong label, drug, dose, solvent, or volume; non-sterile preparation; incomplete control; improper packaging or labeling, and; break or spill – and the potential causes and effects. Potential approaches to reduce these failure modes include updating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), implementing a bar code system, and using a weight-based control system.

Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Fed Register. November 3, 2021;(86):60883-60893.

Patient suicide attempts are considered never events. This funding announcement calls for program applications to motivate suicide prevention strategy implementation in the indigenous peoples’ community. The effort anchors on the Zero Suicide initiative to address unique challenges presented by the Indian health system. 
Finney RE, Czinski S, Fjerstad K, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:312-317.
The term “second victim” refers to a healthcare professional who was involved in a medical error and subsequently experiences psychological distress. An American children’s hospital implemented a peer support program for “second victims” in 2019. Healthcare providers were surveyed before and after implementation of the program with results showing the highest ranked option for support following a traumatic clinical event is peer support. Most respondents indicated they were likely to use the program if a future clinical event were to occur.
Bjørn B, Anhøj J, Østergaard M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(1):e593-e598.
Trigger tools are used as signals to detect potential adverse events. Using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Global Trigger Tool (GTT), one patient safety review team was unable to reproduce harm rates in a test-retest reliability study, suggesting the GTT may not be a reliable measure of harm over time. The team recommends additional test-retest studies in other hospitals.
Wheway JL, Jun GT. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33(4):mzab135.
This qualitative study conducted in the United Kingdom evaluated the utility of two system models – AcciMap and Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) – to better understand patient safety incident reports and develop remedial actions. Participants appreciated the unique strengths of both models but expressed concerns regarding their complexity and required training/education.
Griffin JA, Carr K, Bersani K, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;Epub Aug 23.
Diagnostic errors in the acute care setting can result in increased morbidity and mortality. Using the Diagnostic Error Evaluation and Research (DEER) taxonomy, researchers reviewed 16 records of patients whose deaths were associated with at least one medical error. Most (81.3%) patients had at least one diagnostic error and a total of 113 failure points and 30 significant failure points.
Randall KH, Slovensky D, Weech-Maldonado R, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2021;6(5):e470.
Achieving high reliability is an ongoing goal for health care. This survey of 25 pediatric organizations participating in a patient safety collaborative identified an inverse association between safety culture and patient harm, but found that elements of high-reliability, leadership, and process improvement were not associated with reduced patient harm.
Morbidity and mortality (M&M) conferences are standard components of medical training programs yet medical residents underutilize incident reporting systems that feed into M&M conferences. To encourage incident reporting among residents, the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center launched a web-based, real-time complication reporting platform to capture complications.

The handshake antimicrobial stewardship program (HS-ASP) was developed and implemented at Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO). In 2014, the CHOC HS-ASP team began labeling specific interventions as “Great Catches” which were considered to have altered, or had the potential to alter, the patient’s trajectory of care. CHOC researchers used these "Great Catches" to identify potential diagnostic errors.

Kaya GK. Appl Ergon. 2021;94:103408.
A systems approach provides a framework to analyze errors and improve safety. This study uses the Systems Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) to analyze risks related to pediatric sepsis treatment process. Fifty-four safety recommendations were identified, the majority of which were organizational factors (e.g., communication, organizational culture).
Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478(6):1179-1185.
Autopsies are an important tool for identifying diagnostic errors. This retrospective study of 821 pediatric cancer deaths found that 10% had a major diagnostic discrepancy between antemortem and postmortem diagnoses. These discrepancies primarily consisted of missed infections, missed cancer diagnoses, and organ complications.
Fenton SH, Giannangelo KL, Stanfill MH. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28(11):2346-2353.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision (ICD-11) in 2018. In addition to the medical entities such as disease and injury, it contains a second component, the ICD-11 Mortality and Morbidity Statistics (MMS) linearization. The authors evaluated whether the ICD-11 MMS is appropriate for use in patient safety and quality or if a USA-specific clinical modification is necessary. 
O’Connor P, Madden C, O’Dowd E, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33(3):mzab117.
There are many challenges associated with detecting and measuring patient safety events. This meta-review provides an overview of approaches to measuring and monitoring safety in primary care. The authors suggest that instead of developing new methods for measuring and monitoring safety, researchers should focus on expanding the generalizability and comparability of existing methods, many of which are readily available, quick to administer, do not require external involvement, and are inexpensive.