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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.

Demiris G, Lin S-Y, Turner AM. Stud Health Technol Inform . 2019;264:1159-1163.
Patient safety in the home has not been well defined and there have been few studies of this setting. This study examines the concept of patient safety in the home and identifies personal health information management tools to support and maximize patient safety in the home. The study findings demonstrate the physical, emotional, social and functional dimensions of patient safety in the home and ways for informatics tools to maximize safety aspects.
Schulte F; Fry E.
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.
Lifflander AL. JAMA. 2019;321:837-838.
Implementing new information systems can have unintended consequences on processes. This commentary explores insights from a physician, both as a clinician and as the family member of a patient, regarding the impact of hard stops in electronic health records intended to prevent gaps in data entry prior to task progression. The author raises awareness of the potential for patient harm due to interruptions and diminishing student and clinician skill in asking questions to build effective patient histories.
Collins SA, Couture B, Smith ADB, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16(2):e75-e81.
Detecting adverse events in the health care setting remains an ongoing challenge. Engaging patients and their family members may help to escalate safety issues not identified by other means. In this mixed-methods study, investigators analyzed the types of issues patients and their care partners reported in real time through a web-based electronic application implemented on three hospital units. After implementation of the tool, event reporting by patients to the Patient Family Relations Department declined, suggesting that patients preferred to report concerns anonymously through the application. The authors conclude that additional research is needed to understand how these types of applications could be integrated into patient safety programs. A past PSNet perspective highlighted how patient-facing technologies can empower patients.
Chimowitz H, Gerard M, Fossa A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Saf. 2018;44(3):130-136.
Patients frequently depend on informal caregivers (e.g., family, friends, or paid workers) to assist with various aspects of medical care, such as medication administration and travel to medical appointments. OpenNotes seeks to share clinicians' notes with patients through patient portals. Although patients frequently grant portal access to caregivers, the impact of this improved access to health information on the safety of care provided by caregivers remains unknown. Researchers sent a survey to 24,722 patients participating in OpenNotes who had at least one available visit note during the study period. The surveys were sent through the patient portal. Out of the 7058 surveys returned, 150 respondents self-identified as caregivers. Analysis of survey data revealed that access to patient notes enhanced caregiver understanding of recommended medical care including tests and referrals, reminded them about necessary testing, helped them understand results, reminded them about appointments, and improved caregiver ability to assist patients with medications. An Annual Perspective discussed the potential of health information technology to improve patient and caregiver engagement in safety.
Patient engagement in safety has evolved from obscurity to maturity over the past two decades. This Annual Perspective highlights emerging approaches to engaging patients and caregivers in safety efforts, including novel technological innovations, and summarizes the existing evidence on the efficacy of such approaches.
Kelly MM, Hoonakker PLT, Dean SM. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017;24:153-161.
This study found that parents of hospitalized children used the Internet-based patient portal and reported high rates of satisfaction. Parents perceived that the portal would reduce medical errors. This work suggests that engaging patients and caregivers via health-related Internet activities could support safe inpatient care.
Anthony R, Ritter M, Davis R, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2005;31:566-72.
Authors from the 2005 American Hospital Association McKesson Quest for Quality Prize citation of merit recipient highlight their use of collaborative rounds, in which family members may participate, along with multimedia tools to enhance the patient's role in safety.