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Stengel D, Mutze S, Güthoff C, et al. JAMA Surg. 2020.
The Joint Commission recognizes potential overuse of diagnostic imaging, particularly computed tomographic (CT) scans, to be a patient safety risk due to excess radiation exposure. This study sought to determine whether low-dose whole-body CT (WBCT), which exposes the patient to less radiation, has similar accuracy to standard-dose WBCT. A cohort of over 1,000 patients with suspected blunt trauma were prospectively recruited; half received standard-dose WBCT and the other half received low-dose WBCT.  The authors found that use of low-dose WBCT did not increase risk of missed injury diagnosis, while reducing median radiation exposure by almost half.
Dubosh NM, Edlow JA, Goto T, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;74:549-561.
Misdiagnosis of a neurologic emergency such as stroke can lead to serious morbidity or mortality. Using a large multi-state database, this study examined the likelihood of readmission or inpatient mortality among patients who were initially discharged with nonspecific diagnoses of headache or back pain and found that 0.5% of headache and 0.2% of back pain patients experienced an inpatient death or serious neurological event after ED discharge. Extrapolated to a national level, this translates to over 55,000 patients with adverse outcomes due to a missed diagnosis for headache or back pain.
Bashkin O, Caspi S, Swissa A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:47-51.
This pre-post study found that a human factors approach improved blood collection procedures in the emergency department, which is important for preventing adverse events such as transfusion errors. This demonstrates the benefits of applying human factors engineering in patient safety efforts across health care settings.