Karlamangla S. Los Angeles Times. December 1, 2019.
Patient suicide is considered a sentinel event. This feature shares an examination of approximately 100 preventable deaths in the State of California over a decade. An examination of the case records identified breakdowns in care processes such as lack of training, low staffing and human error.
Schrade B, Teegardin C. Unprotected: Broken promises in Georgia’s senior care industry. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sept-October 2019.
Assisted living facilities have challenges that reduce the quality and safety of care. This news investigation examines how poor management, staffing shortages, and poor caregiver training were unchecked by systemic failures in correcting problems to protect residents.
Clinicians are often reluctant to report impaired or incompetent colleagues. This newspaper article discusses how a Veterans Affairs system pathologist with substance addiction continued to misdiagnose patients despite performance concerns raised by colleagues.
Palmer J. Patient Saf Qual Healthc. May/June 2019.
Organizations must learn from adverse events to prevent similar incidents. Reporting on lessons to be learned from the cascade of failures connected with the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack at the door of a hospital emergency department, this magazine article outlines the importance of effective signage, appropriate security staff placement, and acceptance of the responsibility for failure.
Austin M; Derk J; Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality; Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Measures help track gaps in process and evidence of safety improvements. This white paper examines the performance of hospitals receiving Hospital Safety Grades and the relationship between high-level recognition and preventable harm. The report estimates that a substantial number of lives could have been saved if performance metrics had been met, but concludes that even high-performing hospitals exhibit areas in need of improvement.
Pediatric cardiac surgery is highly technical and risky. This newspaper article reports on a poorly performing pediatric cardiac surgery program, concerns raised by staff, and insufficient response from organizational leadership. Lack of data transparency, insufficient resources, and limited program capabilities to support a complex program contributed to poor outcomes for pediatric patients.
Transparency has been heralded as a cornerstone to improvement in health care. This news article reports on a government alternative summary reporting program that allowed medical device makers to conceal safety events and malfunction reports associated with medical devices. A new program that expands access to information about device-related failures will be put in place.
Pettersen B, Tate J, Tipper K, McKean H. Colorado Senate Bill 19-201.
Communication-and-resolution mechanisms are seen as important approaches to improving transparency and healing after an adverse event. This state bill, referred to as the "Colorado Candor Act," protects conversations between organizations, clinicians, patient, and families from legal discoverability and outlines criteria to guarantee that protection.
Canadian Patient Safety Institute; CPSI; Health Standards Organization; HSO.
This draft 5-year framework aims to guide the activities in Canada to focus action, resources, and policy development on supporting care improvement. The document is structured around five goals: people-centered care, safe care, accessible care, appropriate care, and continuous care. The authors invited Canadian patients, families, clinicians, organization leaders, and policymakers to provide input on the material to ensure its applicability across the country.
Gordon M. Health Shots. National Public Radio. April 10, 2019.
Punitive responses to medical errors persist despite continued efforts to reduce them. This news article reports on an incident involving the mistaken use of a neuromuscular blocking agent that resulted in the death of a patient, the prosecution of the nurse who made the error, and systemic and human factors that contribute to similar events.
Despite years of investment and government support, electronic health records (EHR) continue to face challenges as a patient safety strategy. This news article outlines the unintended consequences of EHR implementation, including patient harm linked to software glitches and user errors, fraudulent behavior (upcoding), interoperability problems, clinician burnout due to poorly designed digital health records, and lack of industry transparency.
Unintended consequences of restrictions enacted to combat the opioid crisis are a concern for patients and prescribers. This magazine article reports on an effort to raise awareness of the potential for patient harm due to lack of legitimate access to opioids for chronic pain as a result of the 2016 CDC opioid prescribing guidelines.
Cognitive and functional decline can occur as individuals age. Concerns have been raised regarding the need to assess skills of aging physicians. This newspaper article reports on the implementation of mandatory evaluation programs to assess competencies of older surgeons and the profession's response to them.
Dembosky A. All Things Considered and KQED. January 23, 2019.
Policy, practice, and communication strategies have been implemented in an effort to stem the opioid crisis and prescribing activities that contribute to misuse. This news article and accompanying webcast discuss an initiative in California that sends letters to prescribers whose patients have died due to opioid overdose. The piece outlines unintended consequences associated with the practice, including clinician reluctance to prescribe opioids for pain. An Annual Perspective discussed the patient safety aspects of the opioid epidemic.
Hixenbaugh M, Ornstein C. Houston Chronicle and Propublica. May 2018-May 2019.
This news investigation chronicles a series of incidents in a transplant program that resulted in patient harm. The systemic nature of the problems such as insufficient whistleblower protection, accountability, and follow-up on patient concerns culminated in a change of hospital leadership. A previous PSNet interview with Charles Ornstein discussed the role of media in raising awareness of patient safety issues.
Mohr H, Weiss M. Associated Press. November 27, 2018.
Usability issues, poor design, and lack of effective instruction hinder safe use of medical equipment. This news article reports on problems associated with ambulatory use of insulin pumps submitted to a Food and Drug Administration database.
Patients can identify errors in their medical records that health care providers may not recognize. This news article highlights the importance of patients correcting seemingly simple mistakes such as name misspellings and phone numbers as these errors can contribute to situations that result in patient harm.
Nursing home patients are vulnerable to preventable harm due to poor safety culture, insufficient staffing levels, lack of regulation enforcement, and misaligned financial incentives. This news investigation reports on how poor practices resulted in resident harm in Pennsylvania nursing homes and discusses strategies for improvement, such as enhancing investigation processes.
This video news segment reports how incorrect medications can be dispensed from pharmacies, notes a lack of regulation mandating that pharmacy errors are reported, and offers tips for patients to reduce risks.
Dr. Kronick has served as director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality since August 2013, and will be stepping down from the role this month. We spoke with him about AHRQ's efforts to develop measurements and implement improvements in patient safety.
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