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.
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, collaborative initiatives, teamwork, and trigger tools.
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.
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.
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.
Ursprung R. Qual Saf Health Care. 2005;14:284-289.
This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of using a safety auditing checklist during daily work in an intensive care unit. Investigators developed a 36-item list focused on errors common to this clinical setting and implemented them into rounds on a regular basis for the 5-week study period. Results suggested the ability to detect a variety of errors while engaging staff in a blame-free fashion to stimulate immediate changes in performance. The authors advocate for greater application of safety and error prevention methods into routine clinical work as a mechanism for ongoing quality improvement.
Using a case report, the authors discuss a series of errors and illustrate the concepts of active and latent failures. They suggest systems-oriented improvements to both the technique and catheter kit used.
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