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.
Clayton DA, Eguchi MM, Kerr KF, et al. Med Decis Making. 2023;43:164-174.
Metacognition (e.g., when one reflects on one’s own decision and decision making) is an approach to reducing diagnostic errors. Using data from the Melanoma Pathology Study (M-PATH) and Breast Pathology Study (B-PATH), researchers assed pathologists’ metacognition by examining their diagnostic accuracy and self-confidence. Results showed pathologists with increased metacognition sensitivity were more likely to request a second opinion for incorrect diagnosis than they were for a correct diagnosis.
Gupta K, Szymonifka J, Rivadeneira NA, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:492-496.
Analysis of closed malpractice claims can be used to identify potential safety hazards in a variety of clinical settings. This analysis of closed emergency department malpractice claims indicates that diagnostic errors dominate, and clinical judgment and documentation categories continue to be associated with a higher likelihood of payout. Subcategories and contributing factors are also discussed.
Root cause analysis is a commonly used tool to identify systems-related factors that contributed to an adverse event. This study assessed a system-based approach, (i.e., collaborative case reviews (CCR) co-led by radiology and an institutional patient safety program) to identify contributing factors and explore the strength of recommended actions in the radiology department at a large academic medical center. Stronger action items, such as standardization of processes, were implemented in 41% of events, and radiology had higher completion rates than other hospital departments.
Shafer GJ, Singh H, Thomas EJ, et al. J Perinatol. 2022;42:1312-1318.
Patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at risk for serious patient safety threats. In this retrospective review of 600 consecutive inborn NICU admissions, researchers found that the frequency of diagnostic errors among inborn NICU patients during the first seven days of admission was 6.2%.
Raghuram N, Alodan K, Bartels U, et al. Virchows Archiv. 2021;478:1179-1185.
Autopsies are an important tool for identifying diagnostic errors. This retrospective study of 821 pediatric cancer deaths found that 10% had a major diagnostic discrepancy between antemortem and postmortem diagnoses. These discrepancies primarily consisted of missed infections, missed cancer diagnoses, and organ complications.
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, collaborative initiatives, teamwork, and trigger tools.
Hensgens RL, El Moumni M, IJpma FFA, et al. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2020;46:1367-1374.
Missed injuries and delayed diagnoses are an ongoing problem in trauma care. This cohort study conducted at a large trauma center found that inter-hospital transfer of severely injured patients increases the risk of delayed detection of injuries. For half of these patients, the new diagnoses led to a change in treatment course. These findings highlight the importance of clinician vigilance when assessing trauma patients.
Bhat A, Mahajan V, Wolfe N. J Clin Neurosci. 2021;85:27-35.
Misdiagnosis, variation in treatment of stroke and gaps in secondary prevention in young patients can result in adverse outcomes. This article discusses the possible causes of implicit bias in stroke care in this population, the effects of bias on patient outcomes, and interventions to circumvent implicit bias.
Ferrara G, De Vincentiis L, Ambrosini-Spaltro A, et al. Am J Clin Pathol. 2021;155:64-68.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to patients delaying or forgoing necessary health care. Comparing the same 10-week period in 2018, 2019 and 2020, researchers used data from seven hospitals in northern-central Italy to assess the impact of COVID-19 on cancer diagnoses. Compared to prior years, cancer diagnoses overall fell by 45% in 2020. Researchers noted the largest decrease in cancer diagnoses among skin, colorectal, prostate, and bladder cancers.
Simulation is a recognized technique to educate and plan to improve care processes and safety. This pair of special issues highlights the use of simulation in nursing and its value in work such as communication enhancement, minority population care, and patient deterioration.
Mahajan P, Basu T, Pai C-W, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e200612.
Using data from a large commercial insurance claims database, this cohort study sought to identify factors associated with potentially missed appendicitis by comparing patients with a potentially missed diagnosis versus patients diagnosed with appendicitis on the same day in the emergency department. The researchers estimated the frequency of missed appendicitis was 6% among adults and 4.4% among children. Patients presenting with abdominal pain and constipation were more likely to have a missed diagnosis of appendicitis than patients presenting with isolated abdominal pain or abdominal pain with nausea and/or vomiting. Stratified analyses based on undifferentiated symptoms found that women and patients with comorbidities were more likely to have missed appendicitis.
Simpkin AL, Murphy Z, Armstrong KA. Diagnosis (Berl). 2019;6:269-276.
Whether or not word selection during handoffs affects clinician anxiety and diagnostic uncertainty remains unknown. In this study involving medical students, researchers found that use of the word "hypothesis" compared to the word "diagnosis" when describing a hypothetical handoff from the emergency department to the inpatient setting was associated with increased self-reported anxiety due to uncertainty.
Emani S, Sequist TD, Lacson R, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:552-557.
Health care systems struggle to ensure patients with precancerous colon and lung lesions receive appropriate follow-up. This academic center hired navigators who effectively increased the proportion of patients who completed recommended diagnostic testing for colon polyps and lung nodules. A WebM&M commentary described how patients with lung nodules are at risk for both overtreatment and undertreatment.
Gupta A, Harrod M, Quinn M, et al. Diagnosis (Berl). 2018;5:151-156.
This direct observation study of hospitalist teams on rounds and conducting follow-up work examined the interaction between systems problems and cognitive errors in diagnosis. Researchers found that information gaps related to electronic health records, challenges with handoffs, and time constraints all contributed to difficulties in diagnostic cognition. The authors suggest considering both systems and cognitive challenges to diagnosis in order to promote safety.
Kwan JL, Singh H. Diagnosis (Berl). 2017;4:173-177.
Problems with test result management can contribute to diagnostic delay and failure. This review explores accountability issues associated with processing and following up on radiology results. The authors highlight the importance of closed-loop communication to ensure that test results support safe care.
Nageswaran S, Donoghue N, Mitchell A, et al. Pediatrics. 2017;139:e20163373.
Lack of collaboration among the clinical team can contribute to diagnostic problems. This commentary describes a collaborative model of care developed to enhance interdisciplinary teamwork across health care settings as a strategy to augment diagnosis for children with undiagnosed complex medical conditions.
Steelman VM, Williams TL, Szekendi MK, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2016;140:1390-1396.
Errors related to the handling of surgical specimens can lead to serious patient harm in the form of delayed and missed diagnoses as well as repeat procedures. In this retrospective review, researchers looked at 648 reported adverse events and near misses involving surgical specimen management. They found that all steps of the specimen handling process are subject to error, but specimen labeling, collection, and transport represented the most frequently reported incidents. Additionally, 52 of the events led to the need for further treatment or to patient harm. The authors suggest that to enhance the safety of specimen handling, organizations should develop standard processes, provide training for staff, improve communication and handoffs, and consider the use of technological systems that might facilitate tracking of specimens.
Zachariasse JM, Kuiper JW, de Hoog M, et al. J Pediatr. 2016;177:232-237.e1.
Emergency department triage systems are designed to prioritize patients based on the level of illness. Inappropriate triage can lead to delays in care and adverse events. In Europe, the Manchester Triage System is a widely used algorithm that classifies patients based on five levels of urgency with a corresponding maximum waiting time. This study sought to assess the effectiveness of the Manchester Triage System in children requiring admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Analyzing more than 50,000 consecutive emergency department visits of children younger than 16, the authors determined that almost one third of children admitted to the ICU were undertriaged. Risk factors identified for undertriage included age younger than 3 months, type of medical presenting problem, presence of underlying chronic conditions, referral by a specialist or emergency medical services, and arrival during the evening or at night. These findings suggest that the Manchester Triage System inappropriately triages a significant proportion of children requiring ICU admission and that modifications should be made to improve safety in pediatric emergency care. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed the challenges of triage in the emergency department.
Reilly JB, Bennett N, Fosnocht K, et al. Acad Med. 2015;90:450-3.
Maintaining the quality of teaching on resident rounds has become a challenge in light of new pressures to improve value, as well as changes in the organization of care and in trainee accreditation standards. This commentary describes a rounding process that focuses on enhancing safety culture, engaging patients, and improving diagnostic reasoning as goals to reinforce teamwork activities including huddles, bedside rounds, and diagnostic timeouts. The authors provide information drawn from their evaluation of the program and discuss plans for further research building on their work.
Lyratzopoulos G, Wardle J, Rubin G. BMJ. 2014;349:g7400.
Past studies have found that delays in cancer diagnosis are common and harmful. Suggesting that such delays are not always due to error, this commentary reviews how diagnostic difficulty can lead to multiple consultations and hinder timely diagnosis of cancer in primary care.
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