Unintentionally retained foreign objects can be exacerbated by fatigue, distractions, and communication errors. This article highlights the importance of effective teamwork, high reliability orientation, and standardized surgical count methods to minimize the persistent problem of retained surgical items.
Levkovich BJ, Orosz J, Bingham G, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jul 5.
Rapid response teams, also known as medical emergency teams (MET), are activated when a patient demonstrates signs of clinical deterioration to prevent transfer to intensive care, cardiac arrest, and death. MET activations were prospectively reviewed at two Australian hospitals to determine the proportion of activations due to medication-related harms and assess the preventability of the activation. 23% of MET activations were medication-related, and 63% of those were considered preventable. Most preventable activations were patients with hypertension, and prevention strategies should focus on these patients.
Locey KJ, Webb TA, Stein BD, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:403-410.
The AHRQ patient safety indicators (PSIs) are widely used measures of preventable complications and quality of care. This study found that a hospital’s internal policies about admission type introduces variation in PSI scores for elective surgeries.
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.
Morsø L, Birkeland S, Walløe S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:271-279.
Patient complaints can provide insights into safety threats and system weaknesses. This study used the healthcare complaints analysis tool (HCAT) to identify and categorize safety problems in emergency care. Most problems arose during examination/diagnosis and frequently resulted in diagnostic errors or errors of omission.
Tan J, Krishnan S, Vacanti JC, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;42:9-14.
Inpatient falls are a common patient safety event and can have serious consequences. This study used hospital safety reporting system data to characterize falls in perioperative settings. Falls represented 1% of all safety reports between 2014 and 2020 and most commonly involved falls from a bed or stretcher. The author suggests strategies to identify patients at high risk for falls, improve fall-related training for healthcare personnel, and optimize equipment design in perioperative areas to prevent falls.
Davidson C, Denning S, Thorp K, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Apri 15.
People of color experience disproportionately higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. As part of a larger quality improvement and patient safety initiative to reduce severe maternal morbidity from hemorrhage (SMM-H), this hospital analyzed administrative data stratified by race and ethnicity, and noted a disparity between White and Black patients. Review of this data was integrated with the overall improvement bundle. Post-implementation results show that SMM-H rates for Black patients decreased.
Organizational, environmental, and work-related factors can contribute to performance variations and human error during healthcare delivery. This study examined perioperative sentinel events reported to a Dutch database over a one-year period. It found that although performance variability continued in almost all events, it was rarely explicitly mentioned in incident reports or represented in resulting improvement measures. The authors suggest that explicitly addressing performance variability in sentinel event analyses can lead to more effective improvement measures that account for human performance in healthcare.
Lam D, Dominguez F, Leonard J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 22.
Trigger tools and incident reporting systems are two commonly used methods for detecting adverse events. This retrospective study compared the performance of an electronic trigger tool plus manual screening versus existing incident reporting systems for identifying probable diagnostic errors among children with unplanned admissions following a prior emergency department (ED) visit. Of the diagnostic errors identified by the trigger tool and substantiated by manual review, less than 10% were identified through existing incident reporting systems.
Cantor N, Durr KM, McNeill K, et al. J Intensive Care Med. 2022;Epub Mar 3.
Adverse events (AE) may lead to poor patient outcomes as well as increased financial costs. An analysis of more than 17,000 adult intensive care unit patients showed approximately 35% experienced at least one healthcare associated adverse event. Those patients had significantly longer hospital stays, experienced higher rates of in-hospital mortality, and required more invasive intensive care unit (ICU) interventions. Additionally, the total cost of the hospital stay was significantly higher, mostly due to increased length of stay.
Hamad DM, Mandell SP, Stewart RM, et al. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;92:473-480.
By analyzing errors that lead to preventable or potentially preventable deaths in trauma care, healthcare organizations can develop mitigation strategies to prevent those errors from reoccurring. This study classified events anonymously reported by trauma centers using the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations Patient Safety Event Taxonomy. Mitigation strategies were most often low-level, person-focused (e.g., education and training).
Tewfik G, Naftalovich R, Kaushal N, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2022;128:e28-e32.
Adverse event reporting and tracking are essential components to safety improvement. This letter to the editor summarizes the barriers to accurate adverse event tracking in anesthesiology, including fear of blame or lack of education regarding the importance of identifying reportable events, and the role of Anesthesia Information Management Systems for improving incident reporting and tracking.
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.
Cook-Richardson S, Addo A, Kim P, et al. J Surg Res. 2022;274:136-144.
Studies have shown that physicians are less likely to report errors and adverse events when compared to other clinicians. To increase the number of self-reports by surgeons, this hospital implemented a program of financial incentives. The incentive program led to an increase in reporting by physicians and physician assistants.
Petrovic M, Nicholls J, Siassakos D. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2022;80:105-113.
Improving safe maternal care is an ongoing patient safety priority. This article outlines training strategies for providing safe obstetric care and improving communication among providers and patients.
Gibney BT, Roberts JM, D'Ortenzio RM, et al. RadioGraphics. 2021;41:2111-2126.
Hospitals are increasingly creating and updating their emergency disaster response plans. This guide assists hospital executives, quality & safety professionals, and risk managers by assessing potential hazards or failures in radiology departments in the event of disaster. Disaster planning tools, checklists, and other recommendations are described.
Ryan M, Mekel M, Sinha MS. UptoDate. November 30, 2021
Error disclosure is fundamental to addressing harm and psychological distress after medical error. This review highlights issues associated with surgical error disclosure. It summarizes literature covering legal and ethical issues, honest apology, and skill development to ensure apology communications are effective.
Retained surgical items (RSI) are a never event, yet they continue to happen. This commentary summarizes recent changes to an existing guidance that defines a range of retained devices or products to coalesce with industry terminology. The author shares steps to reduce the potential for RSI retention.
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