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.
Dorken Gallastegi A, Mikdad S, Kapoen C, et al. J Surg Res. 2022;274:185-195.
While interoperative deaths (IODs) are rare, they are catastrophic events. This study analyzed five years of data on IODs from a large academic medical center. The authors describe three phenotypes: patients with traumatic injury, those undergoing non-trauma-related emergency surgery, and patients who die during an elective procedure from medical cardiac arrests or vascular injuries. This classification framework can serve as a foundation for future research or quality improvement processes.
Okpalauwaekwe U, Tzeng H-M. Patient Relat Outcome Meas. 2021;12:323-337.
Patients transferred from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are vulnerable to adverse events. This scoping review identified common extrinsic factors contributing to adverse events among older adults during rehabilitation stays at skilled nursing facilities, including inappropriate medication usage, polypharmacy, environmental hazards, poor communication between staff, lack of resident safety plans, and poor quality of care due to racial bias, organizational issues, and administrative issues.
Schnock KO, Biggs B, Fladger A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e462-e468.
Hospitals have implemented radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology to improve patient safety. This systematic review of 5 studies suggests that use of RFID can lead to rapid, accurate detection of retained surgical instruments (RSIs) and reduced risk of counting errors.
Barbash IJ, Davis BS, Yabes JG, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2021;174:927-935.
Starting in 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has required hospitals to report adherence to the Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock Early Management Bundle (SEP-1). This study examined sepsis patient encounters at one health system two years before and two years after SEP-1 implementation. Results indicate variable changes in process measures but no improvement in clinical outcomes. The authors suggest revising the measure with more flexible guidelines that allow clinician discretion may improve patient outcomes.
Han D, Khadka A, McConnell M, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e2024589.
Unexpected death or serious disability of a newborn is considered a never event. A cross-sectional analysis including over 5 million births between 2011 and 2017 in the United States found unexpected newborn death was associated with a significant increase in use of procedures to avert or mitigate fetal distress and newborn complications (e.g., cesarean delivery, antibiotic use for suspected sepsis). These findings could reflect increased caution among clinicals or indicate more proactive attempts to identify and address potential complications.
Mahajan P, Pai C-W, Cosby KS, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2021;8:340-346.
Diagnostic error is an ongoing patient safety challenge that can result in patient harm. This literature review identified a set of emergency department (ED)-focused electronic health record (EHR) triggers (e.g., death following ED visit, change in treating service after admission, unscheduled return to the ED resulting in admission) and non-EHR based signals (e.g., patient complaints, referral to risk management) with the potential to screen ED visits for diagnostic safety events.
Donovan AL, Aaronson EL, Black L, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:23-30.
Patient suicide, attempted suicide, or self-harm are considered ‘never events.’ This article describes the development and implementation of a safety protocol for emergency department (ED) patients at risk for self-harm, including the creation of safe bathrooms and increasing the number of trained observers in the ED. Implementation of the protocol was correlated with lower rates of self-harm.
Nydoo P, Pillay BJ, Naicker T, et al. Scand J Public Health. 2020;48:629-637.
Maternity care can be a high-risk environment. This literature review summarizes the prevalence, risk factors, coping strategies, and recovery processes for ‘second victims’, with an emphasis on obstetric care.
Fortman E, Hettinger AZ, Howe JL, et al. J Am Med Inform Asso. 2020.
Physicians from different health systems using two computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems participated in simulated patient scenarios using eye movement recordings to determine whether the physician looked at patient-identifying information when placing orders. The rate of patient identification overall was 62%, but the rate varied by CPOE system. An expert panel identified three potential reasons for this variation – visual clutter and information density, the number of charts open at any given time, and the importance placed on patient identification verification by institutions.
Kandagatla P, Su W-TK, Adrianto I, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2021;43:101-109.
This study examined the association of inpatient harms (e.g., infections, medication-related harms) and 30-day readmissions through a retrospective analysis of adult surgical patients in a single heath system over a two year period. The authors found that the harms with the highest 30-day readmission rates were pressure ulcers (45%), central line-associated bloodstream infections (40%), Clostridium difficile infections (29%), international normalized ratio >5 for patients taking Warfarin (26%), and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. The authors also described the accuracy of a risk prediction model to identify high-risk patients for 30-day admissions.
Kozhimannil KB. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1901-1904.
Maternal harm is a sentinel event that is gaining increased attention in both policy and clinical environments. In this commentary, the author relates her family history of maternal morbidity and mortality and advocates for enhancements in collecting data on maternal health outcomes, access to care, understanding of racial disparities, accountability, and listening to patients and families who have been impacted by unsafe maternal care.
Schnapp BH, Sun JE, Kim JL, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2018;5:135-142.
In 2015, the National Academy of Medicine called for renewed focus on reducing diagnostic error. Among patients admitted to the hospital shortly after discharge home from the emergency department, researchers found that 19% of cases involved a cognitive error, such as faulty information processing or inaccurate data verification, which may contribute to diagnostic errors.
Law AC, Roche S, Reichheld A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:276-284.
Emotional and psychological harm are understudied but common preventable adverse events. Overt disrespect from health care providers and the lasting psychological impact of safety hazards both contribute to emotional harm. This large, prospective study explored emotional harm among 1559 family members of intensive care unit patients at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. About 22% of family members reported inadequate respect toward either themselves or the patient, and more than half of respondents perceived a lack of control over their loved one's care. Inadequate respect and lack of control were strongly correlated with overall satisfaction with care. A WebM&M commentary discussed the utility of family-centered care to preventing harm in the intensive care unit.
Bezemer J, Cope A, Korkiakangas T, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017;26:583-587.
Increased use of video technology in the health care setting may represent an opportunity to improve patient safety. The authors introduce a framework for using video data in patient safety research, present insights from numerous studies, and outline opportunities for further study.
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