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The PSNet Collection: All Content

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.

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Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 Results
Mohanna Z, Kusljic S, Jarden R. Aust Crit Care. 2022;35:466-479.
Many types of interventions, such as education, technology, and simulations, have been used to reduce medication errors in the intensive care setting. This review identified 11 studies representing six intervention types; three of the six types showed improvement (prefilled syringe, nurses’ education program, and the protocolized program logic form) while the other three demonstrated mixed results.
Gauthier-Wetzel HE. Comput Inform Nurs. 2022;40:382-388.
Barcode medication administration (BCMA) has been promoted as an effective method for reducing medication administration errors. In the emergency department of one Veterans Affairs Medical Center, medication error rates decreased by nearly 11% following introduction of BCMA technology. However, unsafe workarounds were also identified, which may limit the overall safety of BCMA.
Curated Libraries
January 14, 2022
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...
Blake JWC, Giuliano KK. AACN Adv Crit Care. 2020;31:357-363.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many changes in health care delivery. This article discusses one common process change – moving medical devices (such as intravenous (IV) infusion pumps) away from the bedside – and how to support nursing clinical decision-making during IV infusion therapy.  
Rich RK, Jimenez FE, Puumala SE, et al. HERD. 2020;14:65-82.
Design changes in health care settings can improve patient safety. In this single-site study, researchers found that new hospital design elements (single patient acuity-adaptable rooms, decentralized nursing stations, access to nature, etc.) improved patient satisfaction but did not impact patient outcomes such as length, falls, medication events, or healthcare-associated infections.  
Procaccini D, Rapaport R, Petty BG, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:706-714.
The use of PRN (“as needed”) medications is a common source of medication errors. The authors describe the implementation of staff education and a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) order set (with predefined PRN orders), which led to increased compliance with Joint Commission medication management standards. The related editorial discusses how investment in human factors and ergonomics can contribute to healthcare quality and safety improvements.
Owens K, Palmore M, Penoyer D, et al. J Emerg Nurs. 2020;46:884-891.
Barcoding of medications is one approach to improving medication administration safety. In this study, direct observation was used to compare medication error rates and nursing satisfaction before and after implementation of bar-code medication administration in a community hospital emergency department. Three months after its implementation, the medication administration error rate significantly decreased by 74.2% and nursing satisfaction increased.  
Sauro KM, Soo A, de Grood C, et al. Crit Care Med. 2020.
Researchers in this multicenter cohort study found that 19% of patients experienced an adverse event during the transition from the intensive care unit (ICU)  to the hospital ward, with most (62%) occurring within three days of transfer. Compared to patients who did not experience an adverse events, those with adverse events were at increased risk for negative outcomes including ICU readmission, increased length of stay and inpatient morality. Approximately one-third (36%) of these events were deemed preventable by the research team.
Bonafide CP, Miller JM, Localio AR, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2019;174:162-169.
Interruptions are common in busy clinical settings but carry patient safety concerns, particularly if they occur during medication administration. This retrospective cohort study examined one hospital’s timestamped telecommunications data to determine the effect of incoming mobile calls or texts on subsequent medication errors (based on barcode alerts) in a pediatric ICU. Medication administration errors were more common when nurses were interrupted by incoming telephone calls (3.7%) compared to when they were uninterrupted (3.1%), and error risk varied by shift, level of experience, nurse to patient ratio, and level of patient care required. Incoming text messages were not associated with medication administration errors; the authors speculate that this may be attributable to the fact that text message alerts do not require immediate response or that nurses have become accustomed to their frequent occurrence.
Pinkney SJ, Fan M, Koczmara C, et al. Crit Care Med. 2019;47:e597-e601.
This simulation study examined critical care unit nurses' performance in identifying intravenous medications using different equipment types. Researchers found that line labels (attached to each line of tubing) and organizers (which prevent tubing from tangling) significantly improved the accuracy of medication identification compared to usual care. Use of smart pumps required more time and did not improve medication identification accuracy, suggesting that line labels and organizers are an inexpensive and feasible method to enhance medication safety.
Smetzer J, Baker C, Byrne FD, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2010;36:152-163.
This article discusses how a hospital responded to a fatal medication error that occurred when a nurse mistakenly administered epidural pain medication intravenously to a pregnant teenager. Findings from the root cause analysis of the error revealed underlying factors including fatigue (the nurse had worked a double shift the day before), failed safety systems (the hospital had recently implemented a bar coding system, but not all nurses were trained and workarounds were routine), and human factors engineering (bags containing antibiotics and pain medications were similar in appearance and could be accessed with the same type of catheter). A range of safety interventions were implemented as a result. However, the related editorials by leaders in the safety field (Drs. Sidney Dekker, Charles Denham, and Lucian Leape) take the hospital to task for focusing on narrow improvements rather than using complexity theory to solve underlying problems, and for creating a "second victim" by disciplining the nurse (who was fired and ultimately criminally prosecuted) rather than acknowledging the institution's responsibility and the caregiver's emotional distress. The article and commentaries provide a fascinating, in-depth look at the true impact of a never event.