The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is a long-established source of patient safety data analysis and application-focused commentary. Their publishing output aims to generate improvements in their state as well as throughout health care. This open-access publication replaces the quarterly Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory newsletter.
Cullen A. Uitgeverij van Brug: The Hague, The Netherlands; 2019. ISBN: 9789065232236.
Patient stories offer important insights regarding the impact medical errors have on patients and their families. This book shares the author's experience with medical error and spotlights how lack of transparency in European health care can contribute to avoidable process failures 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 magazine article reports on the preventable death of a patient during an acute asthma attack. Written by the patient's husband, the article outlines the failures that led to her death despite the fact that she was at the door of a hospital emergency department and on the phone with an emergency dispatcher. Factors discussed include overreliance on poorly functioning technology, communication failures, and lack of fail-safes.
Sinow CS, Corso I, Lorenzo J, et al. Crit Care Med. 2017;45:1915-1921.
Patients with limited English proficiency may be at higher risk for adverse events, including medication errors. Use of professional medical interpreters has been shown to improve the quality of care provided to patients with limited English proficiency. In this observational study at a single children's hospital, researchers analyzed the transcripts of nine family meetings and found that Spanish medical interpreters frequently altered the original speech of providers and family members. The authors suggest that when using medical interpreters, providers should pause frequently, allowing for translation of shorter statements to improve accuracy of translation.
This study sought to improve safe at-home pediatric medication administration through an interactive voice response intervention. Researchers found that medication dosing errors and nonadherence were common. The intervention increased medication communication but did not make parents more likely to bring medications to a physician visit as recommended. This study highlights the challenges of safe medication management for outpatients.
Roter DL, Wolff J, Wu A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017;26(6):508-512.
Effective team communication is a key component of safe care. This commentary discusses the role of patient–family partnerships in enhancing health care safety in ambulatory and home settings. The authors describe a communication intervention to improve patient and family collaboration during ambulatory care visits. Components of the approach included engaging family participation in routine visits and coaching them to ask questions.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2016. AHRQ Publication No. 16-0035-2-EF.
Patient safety in ambulatory care is receiving increased attention. This guide includes case studies that explore how Open Notes, team-based care delivery, and patient and family advisory committees have shown promise as patient engagement and safety improvement mechanisms in primary care settings.
Jackson PD, Biggins MS, Cowan L, et al. Rehabil Nurs. 2016;41:135-48.
Transitions are a complicated and vulnerable time for patients, particularly for those with complex care needs. This review examines the literature around care transitions and insights from patient and family advisory councils. The authors recommend standardizing the process for veterans with complex conditions and suggest focus on the use of real-time information exchange, documented care plans, and engaging patients and their families in transitions.
Tothy AS, Limper HM, Driscoll J, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2016;42:281-5.
This study reports on efforts to enhance communication between clinicians and patients in an urban pediatric emergency department. A rapid-change project resulted in significant improvement in patient perceptions of communication—clinicians were perceived as being more sensitive to patients' concerns and displayed better listening behaviors. Poor discharge communication in the emergency department has been linked to safety concerns in prior studies.
Patient engagement is increasingly recognized as a key strategy to enhance safety in health care. This article describes how failure to communicate effectively with patients can reduce safety and outlines tactics to involve patients and families in care transitions.
Coleman EA, Ground KL, Maul A. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2015;41:502-7.
Efforts to improve patient safety during care transitions have had mixed success, possibly due to failure to effectively engage family and caregivers in the transition process. This study reports on the development and validation of a novel survey instrument that measures family and caregivers' preparation and self-efficacy around supporting patients at the time of hospital discharge.
Elias P. Health Aff (Millwood). 2015;34(4):707-710.
Care transitions are a vulnerable time for patients, and handoff improvement is a national patient safety priority. This commentary relates how a medical student's experience with handing off a patient to an intensive care unit touches on hierarchy and a missed opportunity for transparent and family-centered communication. A past AHRQ WebM&M perspective discusses problems with inpatient handovers and recommends strategies to enhance handoff quality.
Stickney CA, Ziniel SI, Brett MS, et al. J Pediatr. 2014;165:1245-1251.e1.
In this study, health care providers and parents of children in a pediatric intensive care unit described their perceptions of family involvement in morning rounds. Although parents were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about being included in rounds, providers expressed some concerns and potential drawbacks, such as the avoidance of discussing uncomfortable topics due to presence of family.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; AHRQ; HHS; US Department of Health and Human Services.
Studies have shown that a surprisingly large proportion of hospitalized patients are not aware of their diagnoses or treatment plan and that their preferences are often not taken into account in advanced care planning. This failure to provide patient-centered care indicates a need for increased patient engagement in safety and quality efforts. This toolkit published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is designed to help hospitals develop partnerships with patients around improving safety. Developed with input from clinicians and patients, the guide emphasizes four strategies—working with patients as advisors, improving bedside communication, integrating patients and families into shift changes, and using patient input to improve the discharge process. An AHRQ WebM&M perspective by Dr. Saul Weingart discusses the practical challenges of engaging patients in improvement efforts.
Riley-Lawless K. J Spec Pediatr Nurs. 2009;14:94-101.
Medication reconciliation continues to be a challenging endeavor for health care systems since being elevated to a National Patient Safety Goal. This study surveyed 100 families and found that they are frequently unable to provide complete medication information about their children due to a number of highlighted barriers.
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