The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Sibbald M, Abdulla B, Keuhl A, et al. JMIR Hum Factors. 2022;9:e39234.
Electronic differential diagnostic support (EDS) are decision aids that suggest one or more differential diagnoses based on clinical data entered by the clinician. The generated list may prompt the clinician to consider additional diagnoses. This study simulated the use of one EDS, Isabel, in the emergency department to identify barriers and supports to its effectiveness. Four themes emerged. Notably, some physicians thought the EDS-generated differentials could reduce bias while others suggested it could introduce bias.
Singh H, Mushtaq U, Marinez A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:581-590.
Diagnostic error continues to be a significant safety problem. Using a multimethod approach, this study developed a checklist of ten high-priority practices for diagnostic excellence which healthcare organizations can implement to address diagnostic errors. Priority practices include promoting speaking up behaviors through a just culture and psychologically safe environment; patient and family engagement in identifying, understanding, and addressing diagnostic safety concerns; and using multidisciplinary perspectives (including human factors and informatics) to understand factors contributing to diagnostic safety events.
Fawzy A, Wu TD, Wang K, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182:730-738.
Black and brown patients have experienced disproportionately poorer outcomes from COVID-19 infection as compared with white patients. This study found that patients who identified as Asian, Black, or Hispanic may not have received timely diagnosis or treatment due to inaccurately measured pulse oximetry (SpO2). These inaccuracies and discrepancies should be considered in COVID outcome research as well as other respiratory illnesses that rely on SpO2 measurement for treatment.
Clinical decision support (CDS) systems are designed to improve diagnosis. Researchers surveyed emergency department physicians about their evaluation of human factors-based CDS systems to improve diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. Although perceived usability was high, use of the CDS tool in the real clinical environment was low; the authors identified several barriers to use, including lack of workflow integration.
Ensuring maternal safety is a patient safety priority. This library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on improving maternal safety. Included resources explore strategies with the potential to improve maternal care delivery and outcomes, such as high reliability, care standardization,teamwork, unit-based safety initiatives, and...
Restrepo D, Armstrong KA, Metlay JP. Ann Intern Med. 2020;172:747-751.
Using two case examples, this article discusses how the influences of cognitive biases in clinical decision-making contribute to diagnostic error and steps in the diagnostic process to avoid such errors, including using diagnostic checklists, conferring with teammates or peers, and continuously reassessing treatment response.
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.
Hussain F, Cooper A, Carson-Stevens A, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2019;19:77.
This retrospective study reviewed incident reports to characterize diagnostic errors occurring in emergency departments in England and Wales. The majority of incidents (86%) were delayed diagnoses; the remainder were wrong diagnoses. The authors identified three themes stemming from human factors that contributed to the diagnostic errors: insufficient assessment (e.g., failure to order imaging or refer patients when indicated), inappropriate response to diagnostic imaging, and failure to order diagnostic imaging. Potential interventions to address these contributors are briefly discussed.
Carayon P, Hoonakker P, Hundt AS, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;29:329-340.
This simulation study assessed whether integrating human factors engineering into a clinical decision support system can improve the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE) in the ED. Authors found that this approach can improve the PE diagnostic process by saving time, reducing perceived workload and improving physician satisfaction with the technology.
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.
Human limitations can affect the safety of practice. This article discusses how fatigue, information quality, distractions, and the physical environment influence radiologic interpretation. The authors highlight the role of artificial intelligence as a potential solution to reduce errors in interpreting diagnostic imaging.
Lacson R, Cochon L, Ip I, et al. J Am Coll Radiol. 2019;16:282-288.
This retrospective review of nearly 900 incident reports related to diagnostic imaging found that the most common type of safety problem was linked to the imaging procedure. Events associated with communicating abnormal results were less common but had a higher potential to harm patients. Most events had multiple contributing factors.
Chew KS, van Merrienboer JJG, Durning SJ. BMC Med Educ. 2019;19:18.
Metacognition is an approach to enhance diagnostic thinking. This study used focus groups to assess physicians' and medical students' impressions of a metacognitive diagnostic checklist. Participants found the checklist to be applicable and usable, and the authors conclude that it should be tested in a clinical setting.
Cheung R, Roland D, Lachman P. Arch Dis Child. 2019;104:1130-1133.
Children are vulnerable to delayed or missed diagnosis, infections, and medication errors. This commentary summarizes the current state of pediatric patient safety improvement efforts in the United Kingdom and emphasizes the importance of systems approaches to safety. The authors highlight huddles and pediatric early warning systems as two tactics that improve the reliability of communication to address the complex needs of pediatric patients.
Problems managing laboratory tests can contribute to diagnostic error. This commentary discusses several approaches to decrease system and cognitive errors in clinical laboratories. The author recommends improving collaboration among laboratory staff, pathologists, radiologists, and frontline physicians to enhance the laboratory testing process and reduce diagnostic error.
Medford-Davis LN, Singh H, Mahajan P. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2018;65:1097-1105.
The busy and complex emergency department environment harbors pressures can that hinder diagnostic safety. This review discusses the characteristics of emergency medicine that contribute to overreliance on heuristics and susceptibility to bias in decision making. The authors highlight the need to better monitor diagnostic error in the emergency department to inform the design of improvement activities. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed diagnostic delay in the emergency department.
Gupta A, Harrod M, Quinn M, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2018;5:151-156.
This direct observation study of hospitalist teams on rounds and conducting follow-up work examined the interaction between systems problems and cognitive errors in diagnosis. Researchers found that information gaps related to electronic health records, challenges with handoffs, and time constraints all contributed to difficulties in diagnostic cognition. The authors suggest considering both systems and cognitive challenges to diagnosis in order to promote safety.
Taylor-Phillips S, Jenkinson D, Stinton C, et al. Radiology. 2018;287:749-757.
This retrospective analysis of more than 800,000 mammograms examined the effect of a second review of images. With a second reader, fewer women had to return for more imaging and more cancers were detected, suggesting that double reading may enhance the diagnostic performance of mammography.
Mane KK, Rubenstein KB, Nassery N, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:567-570.
System approaches are required to achieve sustainable improvements in health care. This commentary describes a big data analysis framework and applied it to the development of a dashboard that tracks diagnostic safety across an organization. The prototype is designed to help organizations visualize weaknesses in diagnostic performance, target specific problems, and enable learning and operational improvements to prevent future misdiagnoses.
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