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.
Errors of commission during complex procedures can contribute to patient harm. Drawing from an analysis of medical device reports submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, this updated announcement seeks to raise awareness of common adverse events associated with surgical staplers and implantable staples. User-related problems include opening of the staple line, misapplied staples, and staple gun difficulties. Recommendations include ensuring availability of various staple sizes and avoiding use of staples on large blood vessels.
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...
Vance ME, Proctor T, Schmidt KA. AORN J. 2021;113:635-642.
The perioperative setting is a high-risk environment. This continuing education model discusses safety threats and evidence-based best practices to deliver nursing care in perioperative settings and promote a culture of safety.
Lin DM, Peden CJ, Langness SM, et al. Anesth Analg. 2020;131:e155-1159.
The anesthesia community has been a leader in patient safety innovation for over four decades. This conference summary highlights presented content related to the conference theme of “preventing, detecting, and mitigating clinical deterioration in the perioperative period.” The results of a human-centered design analysis exploring tactics to reduce failure to rescue were summarized.
Shapiro FE, ed. Int Anesthesiol Clin. 2019;57:1-162.
This publication presents patient safety concepts for anesthesia practice, including decision aids to educate and empower patients about anesthesia choice, environmental hazards, interpersonal communication, team training, and use of technology and simulation as educational tools.
Surgeon technical skill, real-time problem solving, and communication quality are essential for avoiding harm during surgery. This study found that those types of human errors were responsible for 51.6% of 188 surgical adverse events at 3 hospitals. A past PSNet perspective delineates the evolution of surgical patient safety.
Rosen DA, Criser AL, Petrone AB, et al. J Patient Saf. 2019;15:e90-e93.
This pre–post study found that color-coded head coverings in the operating room significantly decreased misidentification of attending physicians versus medical students. The authors recommend implementation of this highly feasible solution to enhance proper role identification in the surgical setting.
Siddiqui A, Ng E, Burrows C, et al. Cureus. 2019;11:e4376.
This randomized simulation study examined the use of checklists during simulated pediatric cardiac arrests in the surgical setting. Despite low uptake of the checklists, their availability during the simulations was associated with better performance. The authors recommend use of these checklists to enhance performance in rare critical situations.
Casali G, Cullen W, Lock G. J Thorac Dis. 2019;11:S998-S1008.
Nontechnical skills, such as teamwork, communication, and leadership, are essential human-centered components of safe surgical practice. This commentary discusses contextual characteristics needed to support nontechnical skill development to improve health care outcomes. The authors recommend a cultural shift away from focusing on technical performance to one that incorporates training in nontechnical skills.
Burnett G, Goldberg A, DeMaria S, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2019;123:81-87.
Prior research has shown that including errors in training may result in improved retention of knowledge and skills. In this study, first-year anesthesia residents participated in a simulation involving hyperkalemia management. Half received support from an attending physician while the other half participated in the scenario independently. The groups were further split so that half of those practicing independently and half of those working with an attending experienced simulated mortality of the patient. The residents participated in another hyperkalemia simulation 6 months later without attending assistance. Residents who had practiced independently and experienced simulated mortality in the initial hyperkalemia scenario achieved the lowest mortality rate compared to the other groups during the follow-up simulation activity.
During surgery for a forearm fracture, a woman experienced a drop in heart rate to below 50 beats per minute. As the consultant anesthesiologist had stepped out to care for another patient, the resident asked the technician to draw up atropine for the patient. When the technician returned with an unlabeled syringe without the medication vial, the resident was reluctant to administer the medication, but did so without a double check after the technician insisted it was atropine. Over the next few minutes, the patient's blood pressure spiked to 250/135 mm Hg.
Surgical proficiency gained from performing a higher volume of certain procedures is associated with fewer errors. This study used data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program to examine uncommon procedures and their surgical complication rates, with and without trainee participation. As expected, uncommon operations entailed significant rates of morbidity and mortality. Resident involvement was associated with higher likelihood that a patient in distress would be successfully resuscitated but was also associated with a longer operative time. The authors suggest that simulation training for uncommon procedures for residents may improve outcomes. A PSNet perspective reflected on patient safety in surgery.
An elderly man with a complicated medical history slipped on a rug at home, fell, and injured his hip. Emergency department evaluation and imaging revealed no head injury and a left intertrochanteric hip fracture. Although he was admitted to the orthopedic surgery service with surgery to fix the fracture initially scheduled for the next day, the operation was delayed by 3 days due to several emergent trauma cases and lack of surgeon availability. He ultimately underwent surgery and was discharged a few days later but was readmitted several weeks later with chest pain and shortness of breath.
London, UK: Royal College of Surgeons of England; 2019.
Physical demands and technical complexities can affect surgical safety. This resource is designed to capture frontline perceptions of surgeons in the United Kingdom regarding concerning behaviors exhibited by their peers during practice to facilitate awareness of problems, motivate improvement, and enable learning.
Arriaga AF, Sweeney RE, Clapp JT, et al. Anesthesiology. 2019;130:1039-1048.
Debriefing after a critical event is a strategy drawn from high reliability industries to learn from failures and improve performance. This retrospective study of critical events in inpatient anesthesiology practice found that debriefing occurred in 49% of the incidents. Debriefs were less likely to occur when critical communication breakdowns were involved, and more than half of crisis events included at least one such breakdown. Interviews with care teams revealed that communication breakdowns present in some incidents impeded the subsequent debriefing process. The authors call for more consistent implementation of debriefing as a recommended patient safety process. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving miscommunication between a surgeon and an anesthesiologist.
Ott M, Schwartz A, Goldszmidt M, et al. Med Educ. 2018;52:851-860.
This observation and interview study examined instances of surgical trainees hesitating in the operating room. Both trainees and attending physicians interpreted hesitation as incompetence. The authors suggest that this interpretation of hesitation does not support progressive autonomy for trainees and must be addressed in order to promote surgical safety.
Arnold J, Cashin M, Olutoye OO. JAMA Surg. 2018;153:1143-1144.
High-risk industries such as aviation and nuclear power routinely employ rehearsal as a learning technique. Health care has been working to utilize simulation learning in daily work. This commentary reviews elements of a successful simulation program to enable practice of rare or complex procedures as a way to safely build team and individual skills.
Tseng YW, Vedula S, Malpani A, et al. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2019;21:104-109.
This prospective cohort study examined the association between self-rated daytime sleepiness among trainee surgeons and attending surgeon–rated intraoperative technical skill. Higher ratings of sleepiness were associated with worse technical skills, echoing concerns about procedures performed by sleep-deprived surgeons.
Fuchshuber P, Schwaitzberg S, Jones D, et al. Surg Endosc. 2018;32:2583-2602.
Surgical fires have the potential to cause considerable patient harm. This commentary traces the history and experience of an educational strategy to improve safety of surgical energy device use. The program utilizes strategies such as certification, online curricula, and mandated education to engage the surgical team in skill enhancement. The authors describe an international example to illustrate how this approach can be implemented to augment surgical patient safety.
George BC, Bohnen JD, Williams RG, et al. Ann Surg. 2017;266:582-594.
Insufficient trainee supervision may lead to adverse events, but lack of autonomy may leave trainee physicians unprepared for independent practice. In this direct observation surgical education study, attending physicians rated readiness for independent practice and level of supervision for surgical trainees performing specific core procedures throughout the course of their training. At the end of training, 90% of trainees performed competently on average complexity patients, but this proportion dropped to less than 80% for the most complex cases. For about two-thirds of core procedures, surgical residents still had significant supervision in their last 6 months of training. The authors raise concerns about whether graduating residents have sufficient experience practicing independently to enter clinical practice. A previous PSNet perspective advocated for continued appropriate supervision to augment patient safety.
Please select your preferred way to submit a case. Note that even if you have an account, you can still choose to submit a case as a guest. And if you do choose to submit as a logged-in user, your name will not be publicly associated with the case. Learn more information here.