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.
Computed tomography (CT) scans are important diagnostic tools but can present serious dangers from overexposure to radiation. Researchers reviewed 133 radiation incidents reported to one NHS trust from 2015-2018. Reported events included radiation incidents, near-miss incidents, and repeat scans. Most events were investigated using a systems approach, and staff were encouraged to report all types of incidents, including near misses, to foster a culture of safety and enable learning.
Uramatsu M, Maeda H, Mishima S, et al. J Cardiothorac Surg. 2022;17:182.
Wrong-patient transfusion errors can lead to serious patient harm. This case report describes a blood transfusion error and summarizes the systems issues that emerged during the root case analysis, as well as the corrective steps implemented by the hospital to prevent future transfusion errors. A previous Spotlight Case featured a near-miss transfusion error and strategies for ensuring safe transfusion practices.
Passwater M, Huggins YM, Delvo Favre ED, et al. Am J Clin Pathol. 2022;158:212-215.
Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) errors are rare but can lead to complications. One hospital implemented a quality improvement project to reduce WBIT errors with electronic patient identification, manual independent dual verification, and staff education. WBIT errors were significantly reduced and sustained over six years.
Kobo-Greenhut A, Sharlin O, Adler Y, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33:mzaa151.
Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is used to asses risk in various heath care processes. This study found that an algorithmic prediction of failure modes in healthcare (APFMH) is more effective in identifying hazards and uses fewer resources (time and human resource investment) than traditional FMEA.
Shaikh U, Natale JAE, Till DA, et al. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2022;38:e283-e286.
Incident reporting systems may be underutilized by medical trainees. This article describes a brief, interactive simulation activity to improve identification and reporting of patient safety hazards among medical students and interns.
Patient misidentification can lead to serious patient safety risks. In this large academic medical center, displaying patient photographs in the electronic health record (EHR) resulted in fewer wrong-patient order entry errors. The authors suggest this may be a simple and cost-effective strategy for reducing wrong-patient errors.
Kulju S, Morrish W, King LA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e290-e296.
Patient misidentification can lead to serious patient safety risks. Researchers used patient safety reports and root cause analyses (RCA) to characterize patient misidentification events in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The incidence of patient misidentification in inpatient and outpatient settings was similar and most commonly attributed to the absence of two unique patient identifiers. The authors identified three strategies to mitigate misidentification based on high-reliability principles: (1) develop policies for patient identification throughout the continuum of care, (2) develop policies to report and monitor patient misidentification measures, and (3) apply quality and process improvement tools to patient identification emphasizing use by front line staff.
Vanneman MW, Balakrishna A, Lang AL, et al. Anesth Analg. 2020;131:1217-1227.
Transfusion errors due to patient misidentification can have serious consequences. This article describes the implementation of an automated, electronic barcode scanner system to improve pretransfusion verification and documentation. Over two years, the system improved documentation compliance and averted transfusion of mismatched blood products in 20 patients.
Fortman E, Hettinger AZ, Howe JL, et al. J Am Med Inform Asso. 2020.
Physicians from different health systems using two computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems participated in simulated patient scenarios using eye movement recordings to determine whether the physician looked at patient-identifying information when placing orders. The rate of patient identification overall was 62%, but the rate varied by CPOE system. An expert panel identified three potential reasons for this variation – visual clutter and information density, the number of charts open at any given time, and the importance placed on patient identification verification by institutions.
Anderson JE, Watt AJ. Int J Qual Health Care. 2020;32:196-203.
Using a Safety-II framework, the authors used a mixed-methods approach to retrospectively analyze root cause analysis (RCA) reports of ‘never events’ occurring in the United Kingdom to characterize proposed actions, insights and recommendations to prevent future events. The analysis found that proposed actions were generally of low-to-moderate effectiveness, and that despite identifying systems challenges and weaknesses, many reports did not include proposed actions to mitigate or remove risks. The authors conclude that applying concepts from resilient healthcare can identify vulnerabilities and opportunities for strengthening the RCA system and improving the quality of RCA reports.
Ho S, Stamm R, Hibbs M, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:814-821.
Recent guidelines from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices have warned of the risk of blood-borne disease transmission associated with insulin pen sharing in hospitalized patients and provide recommendations for safe practices. This paper describes the impact on insulin pen sharing after the implementation of safe practice recommendations (e.g., label redesign, patient-specific bar coding on pens) at a quaternary academic medical center. Institutional efforts resulted in a less frequent pen-sharing events and a decrease in latent errors found during medication drawer audits, such as retained pens after discharge and illegible or missing label.
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.
Patients admitted to the hospital in acute trauma situations may be given an alias for medical record purposes during their hospitalization. This survey of critical care clinicians (attending and trainee physicians, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners) reported that alias use can cause confusion in caring for critically ill patients. The authors recommend avoiding aliases and using actual patient identifiers as soon as possible.
Hain PD, Joers B, Rush M, et al. Qual Saf Health Care. 2010;19:244-7.
Patient misidentification errors are surprisingly common, as demonstrated in studies in the inpatient and emergency department settings. In this study, a children's hospital conducted a continuous quality improvement intervention to reduce misidentification errors. Interventions—many of which were suggested by staff—included wristband standardization and a "stop-the-line" policy if a misidentification error was suspected. The project resulted in a significant and sustained reduction in these errors. An AHRQ WebM&M commentary discusses a near miss that occurred due to a misidentification error in the labeling of phlebotomy specimens.
This monthly column highlights an initiative to introduce safer device connectors to prevent spinal and epidural medications from being delivered intravenously, discusses the value of independent double-checks, and shares thoughts on the 35th anniversary of this column.
Preventing the wrong patient from receiving care is an ongoing concern in patient safety. This study provides insights from frontline providers into the systems issues that often contribute to patient misidentification.
This monthly selection of medication error reports discusses a mistake with chelation therapy agents due to similar acronym use, confusion of drugs similarly named in different countries, and inadequate information about changes to an existing drug.
Chassin MR, Becher EC. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136:826-833.
This case study describes the events of a patient who underwent an unintended invasive cardiac electrophysiology study. While reviewing the details of the case and the institution’s root cause analysis, the authors identify 17 distinct errors that culminated in the procedure taking place. The authors discuss the role of the individual versus the system, the existing culture contributing to the error, and strategies to avoid similar errors in the future. This article is part of a special collection entitled “Quality Grand Rounds,” a series of articles published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that explores a range of quality issues and medical errors.
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