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.
Sutherland A, Jones MD, Howlett M, et al. Drug Saf. 2022;45:881-889.
Intravenous (IV) medication smart pumps can improve medication administration, but usability issues can compromise safety. This article outlines strategic recommendations regarding the implementation of smart pump technology to improve patient safety. Recommendations include standardization of infusion concentrations, improving drug libraries using a human-centered approach, and increasing stakeholder engagement.
Boamah SA, Hamadi HY, Spaulding AC. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e1090-e1095.
Medicare’s Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program financially incentivizes hospitals to reduce HAC rates and earlier research has shown hospitals in more diverse areas have higher odds of performing poorly. This study compares HAC reduction in Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals and examines potential racial and ethnic disparities. Similar to an earlier study, Magnet hospitals had significant improvements in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates, but not other HACs.
Intravenous (IV) smart pumps can improve medication administration safety, but usability issues can compromise that safety. This study compared actual use of smart pumps to the manufacturer’s requirements for operation. Adherence to requirements was low and the authors present several recommendations to smart pump manufacturers. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices issued guidelines for safe use of smart pumps that address several of these safety concerns.
Medical devices intended to improve patient safety can unintentionally lead to patient harm. This patient safety alert draws attention to the risk of injury when hospital wheelchairs are used by staff, patients, or visitors who may not have training in safe use. Understanding the proper use of the wheelchair, particularly folding wheelchairs, is crucial to ensuring safety.
Many interventions targeting healthcare-acquired condition reduction and prevention target a single condition, rather than the risks of multiple conditions. This proof-of-concept study discusses clinician feedback on a proposed dashboard to enhance clinicians’ management combining the risks of multiple conditions (catheter-associated urinary tract infections, pressure injuries, and falls).
Buetti N, Marschall J, Drees M, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022;43:553-569.
Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) are a target of safety improvement initiatives, as they are common and harmful. This guideline provides an update on recommended steps for organizations to support the implementation of CLASBI reduction efforts.
Serou N, Slight RD, Husband AK, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:358-364.
Operating rooms are high-risk healthcare settings. This study reviewed serious surgical incidents occurring at large teaching hospitals in one National Health Service (NHS) trust. The authors outline several possible contributing factors (i.e., equipment and resource factors, team factors, work environment factors, and organizational and management factors) discuss recommendations for safer care.
Nether KG, Thomas EJ, Khan A, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2022;44:23-30.
Medical errors in the neonatal intensive care unit threaten patient safety. This children’s hospital implemented a robust process improvement program (RPI, which refers to widespread dissemination of process improvement tools to support staff skill development and identify sustainable improvements) to reduce harm in the neonatal intensive care unit. The program resulted in significant and sustainable improvements to staff confidence and knowledge related to RPI tools. It also contributed to improvements in health outcomes, including healthcare-acquired infection.
Fleisher LA, Schreiber M, Cardo D, et al. N Engl J Med. 2022;386:609-611.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of health care. This commentary discusses its impact on patient safety. The authors discuss how the pandemic response dismantled strategies put in place to prevent healthcare-associated infections and falls, and stressors placed on both patients and healthcare workers directed attention away from ongoing safety improvement efforts. They argue that more resilience needs to be built into the system to ensure safety efforts are sustainable in challenging times.
Many medications and medical devices can result in preventable harm in pediatric patients. This article describes one hospital’s efforts to implement explicit, structured processes and huddles to increase situational awareness regarding high-risk therapies among the care team and family members. After implementation, the percentage of electronic health record (EHR) alerts correctly describing high-risk therapies increased from 11% to 96%.
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...
Small K, Sidebotham M, Gamble J, et al. Midwifery. 2021;102:103074.
Health information technologies intended to reduce patient harm may have unintended consequences (UC). Midwives describe the unintended consequences of central fetal monitoring technology. These consequences included potential loss of patient trust in the midwife, changes in clinical practice, and increased documentation during labor. The authors recommend reevaluation of use of central fetal monitoring due to potential UC without demonstrating improvements in maternal safety.
Smart infusions pumps with built-in dose error reduction software (DERS) are designed to protect against dosing errors that result in patient harm. This alert summarizes recommendations to enhance the effective implementation and use of smart infusion pumps such as drug library maintenance and pump error report monitoring.
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.
Sjoding MW, Dickson RP, Iwashyna TJ, et al. N Engl J Med. 2020;383:2477-2478.
Pulse oximetry is used to triage patients, initiate or adjust oxygen administration, and, more recently, as a way to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients at home. However, a study in the Johns Hopkins Health System showed that Asian, Black, or Hispanic patients are more likely to experience inaccurate readings, potentially resulting in missed or delayed diagnosis of respiratory diseases. This study used paired oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry and arterial oxygen saturation in arterial blood gas in Black and white patients before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with the Johns Hopkins study, Black patients had three times the frequency of occult hypoxia than white patients.
Ruskin KJ, Ruskin AC, O’Connor M. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2020;33:788-792.
Task automation in medicine is a core safety tactic that can also create new opportunities for error. This review examines automation failures in anesthesiology. The authors suggest that competency training and demonstration should be embraced to ensure safe use of automated medical equipment such as infusion pumps and electronic health records.
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.
Rigid adherence to protocols may detract from safety when unexpected critical events occur that require deviation from the standard process. This commentary explores insights from a physician, both as a clinician and as a new mother, when health care staff failed to effectively consider patient concerns and knowledge in understanding and treating the cause of postlabor pain. The patient identified the cause and requested appropriate treatment, but nurses consulted protocols for pain after labor and only offered pain medications, which might have exacerbated the problem. The author calls for clinician autonomy to recognize when standardization is not appropriate and how to address individual patient needs.
Hsu K-Y, DeLaurentis P, Bitan Y, et al. J Patient Saf. 2019;15:e8-e14.
Smart infusion pumps store drug safety information, but this data must be periodically updated. This study demonstrated significant delays in updating the drug information for smart infusion pumps. These delays resulted in failure to alert for two high-risk medication cases, but neither case led to patient harm.
The authors present a case in which an unnecessary procedure was incorrectly performed on a patient who had opted to pursue hospice care. They highlight factors contributing to the error including those related to use of the electronic health record.
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