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The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety improvement strategies, and resources for design.

Cooper A, Carson-Stevens A, Edwards M, et al. Br J Gen Pract. 2021;71(713):e931-e940.
In an effort to address increased patient demand and resulting patient safety concerns, England implemented a policy of general practitioners working in or alongside emergency departments. Thirteen hospitals using this service model were included in this study to explore care processes and patient safety concerns. Findings are grouped into three care processes: facilitating appropriate streaming decisions, supporting GPs’ clinical decision making, and improving communication between services.
Liu C, McKenzie A, Sutkin G. J Surg Edu. 2021;78(6):1938-1947.
Communication failures are a common cause of patient harm. This qualitative study found that potentially ambiguous language is common in surgical training settings. In addition to creating challenges for trainee comprehension of surgical instruction, ambiguous language can lead to miscommunications and near misses.
Mital R, Lovegrove MC, Moro RN, et al. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2021;Epub Nov 11.
Accidental ingestion of over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines (CCMs) among children can result in adverse events. This study used national surveillance data to characterize emergency department (ED) visits for harms related to OTC CCM use and discusses differences by patient demographics, intent of use, and concurrent substance use.

Ruskin KJ, ed. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2021;34(6):720-765

Anesthesia services are high risk despite progress made in the specialty to improve its safety. This special section covers issues that affect anesthesia safety such as critical incident debriefing, human factors, and educational strategies.
Marufu TC, Bower R, Hendron E, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;Epub Sep 12.
Medication errors threaten patient safety and can result in adverse outcomes. This systematic review identified seven types of nursing interventions used to reduce medication administration errors in pediatric and neonatal patients: education programs, medication information services, clinical pharmacist involvement, double checking, barriers to reduce interruptions during drug calculation and preparation, use of smart pumps, and improvement strategies (e.g., checklists, process or policy changes). Meta-analysis pooling results from various types of interventions demonstrated a 64% reduction in medication administration errors.

ECRI and Institute for Safe Medication Practices. January 2022 through May 2022.

Collaboratives provide teams with active learning and improvement opportunities based on the experiences of others working toward a collective goal. This collaborative will target safety during surgical procedures. The discussions protected under the sponsors’ Patient Safety Organization status will explore improvement topics such as medication errors and surgical site infections.

Bergl PA, Nanchal RS, eds. Crit Care Clin. 2022;38(1):1-158.

Critical care diagnosis is complicated by factors such as stress, patient acuity and uncertainty. This special issue summarizes individual and process challenges to the safety of diagnosis in critical care. Articles included examine educational approaches, teamwork and rethinking care processes as improvement strategies.
Bennion J, Mansell SK. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2021;82(8):1-8.
Many strategies have been developed to improve recognition of, and response, to clinically deteriorating patients. This review found that simulation-based educational strategies was the most effective educational method for training staff to recognize unwell patients. However, the quality of evidence was low and additional research into simulation-based education is needed.
Urban D, Burian BK, Patel K, et al. Ann Surg. 2021;2(3):e075.
The WHO surgical safety checklist has been implemented in healthcare systems around the world. Survey responses from 2,032 surgical team members from high-income countries suggest that most respondents perceive the checklist as enhancing patient safety, but that not all team members are engaging with its use or feel confident in their role in the checklist process.

Irvine, CA: The Patient Safety Movement Foundation; 2021.

Blood transfusion mistakes can result in severe adverse events. This report shares successful strategies to reduce transfusion process errors. The document highlights patient assessment, process standardization, and cross-disciplinary team building as steps toward improving transfusion safety.
Bernstein SL, Kelechi TJ, Catchpole K, et al. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2021;Epub Sep 6.
Failure to rescue, the delayed or missed recognition of a potentially fatal complication that results in the patient’s death, is particularly tragic in obstetric care. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework, the authors describe the work system, process, and outcomes related to failure to rescue, and develop intervention theories.
Hennus MP, Young JQ, Hennessy M, et al. ATS Sch. 2021;2(3):397-414.
The surge of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic forced the redeployment of non-intensive care certified staff into intensive care units (ICU). This study surveyed both intensive care (IC)-certified and non-IC-certified healthcare providers who were working in ICUs at the beginning of the pandemic. Qualitative synthesis identified five themes related to supervision; quality and safety of care; collaboration, communication, and climate; recruitment, scheduling and team composition, and; organization and facilities. The authors provide recommendations for future deployments.
Leibner ES, Baron EL, Shah RS, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Sep 28.
During the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapid redeployment of noncritical care healthcare staff was necessary to meet the unprecedented number of patients needing critical care. A New York health system developed a multidisciplinary simulation training program to prepare the redeployed staff for new roles in the intensive care unit (ICU). The training included courses on management of a patient with acute decompensation with COVID-19, critical care basics for the non-ICU provider, and manual proning of a mechanically ventilated patient.

A 78-year-old woman with macular degeneration presented for a pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) with an eye block. At this particular hospital, eye cases under MAC are typically performed with an eye block by the surgeon after the anesthesiologist has administered some short-acting sedation, commonly with remifentanil. On this day, there was a shortage of premixed remifentanil and the resident – who was unfamiliar with the process of drug dilution – incorrectly diluted the remifentanil solution.

Huynh I, Rajendran T. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10(3):e001363.
Unintentional therapeutic duplication can lead to life-threatening complications. As part of a quality improvement project on a surgical ward, staff were educated about the risks of therapeutic duplication and strategies to decrease it. After one month of education and reminders, the rate of therapeutic duplication decreased by more than half.
Schaffer AC, Babayan A, Einbinder JS, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2021;138(2):246-252.
Adverse events in obstetrics threaten the safety of both maternal and infant patients. This study identified a significant reduction in malpractice claims among obstetrician-gynecologists after participation in simulation training focused on team training and crisis management.