Atallah F, Hamm RF, Davidson CM, et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2022;227:B2-B10.
The reduction of cognitive bias is generating increased interest as a diagnostic error reduction strategy. This statement introduces the concept of cognitive bias and discusses methods to manage the presence of bias in obstetrics such as debiasing training and teamwork.
Stark N, Kerrissey M, Grade M, et al. West J Emerg Med. 2020;21:1095-1101.
This article describes the development and implementation of a digital tool to centralize and standardize COVID-19-related resources for use in the emergency department (ED). Clinician feedback suggests confirms that the tool has affected their management of COVID-19 patients. The tool was found to be easily adaptable to accommodate rapidly evolving guidance and enable organizational capacity for improvisation and resiliency.
Based on a survey of hospital medicine groups at academic medical centers in the United States (conducted April 2020), the authors of this study characterized inpatient adaptations to care for non-ICU COVID-19 patients. Sites reported rapid expansion of respiratory isolation units (RIUs – dedicated units for patients with known or suspected COVID-19), an emphasis on telemedicine for patient evaluation, and implementation of approaches to minimize room entry. In addition, nearly half of responding sites reported diagnostic errors involving COVID-19 (missing non-COVID-19 diagnoses among infected patients and missing COVID-19 diagnoses in patients admitted for other reasons).
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.
Taylor M, Kepner S, Gardner LA, et al. Patient Safety. 2020;2:16-27.
To assess the impact of COVID-19 on patient harm and potential areas of improvement for healthcare facilities, the authors analyzed data reported to one state’s adverse event reporting system. The authors identified 343 adverse events between January 1 and April 15, 2020. The most common factors associated with patient safety concerns in COVID-19-related events involved laboratory testing, process/protocol (e.g., staff failed to use sign-in sheets to monitor interactions with COVID-19 positive patients), and isolation integrity.
Cheung R, Roland D, Lachman P. Arch Dis Child. 2019;104:1130-1133.
Children are vulnerable to delayed or missed diagnosis, infections, and medication errors. This commentary summarizes the current state of pediatric patient safety improvement efforts in the United Kingdom and emphasizes the importance of systems approaches to safety. The authors highlight huddles and pediatric early warning systems as two tactics that improve the reliability of communication to address the complex needs of pediatric patients.
Rhee C, Jones TM, Hamad Y, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2:e187571.
The degree to which sepsis contributes to inpatient mortality and the extent to which sepsis-associated inpatient mortality is preventable remains unknown. In this retrospective cohort study, researchers analyzed the medical records of 568 adult patients hospitalized at 6 United States hospitals who either died during the hospitalization or were discharged to hospice. They found a diagnosis of sepsis was present in 300 cases and that it was the main cause of death in 198 cases. Reviewers rated 11 of the 300 sepsis-associated deaths as definitely or moderately likely preventable. The authors conclude that it may be challenging to further reduce sepsis-associated inpatient mortality.
Bhattacharjee P, Edelson DP, Churpek MM. Chest. 2016;151.
Undiagnosed sepsis can lead to serious patient harm. This review describes proactive methods of monitoring patients to augment detection and early treatment of sepsis. The authors discuss how this process has evolved over time and suggest that automated tools can aid in identifying and managing sepsis.
Jones SL, Ashton CM, Kiehne L, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2015;41:483-91.
A protocolized early warning system to improve sepsis recognition and management was associated with a decrease in sepsis-related inpatient mortality. The protocol emphasized early recognition by nurses and escalation of care by a nurse practitioner when indicated. An AHRQ WebM&M commentary describes common errors in the early management of sepsis.
Vioque SM, Kim PK, McMaster J, et al. Am J Surg. 2014;208:187-194.
Approximately 1 in 13 deaths of patients with major trauma were considered preventable or potentially preventable in this retrospective review from an urban trauma center. Diagnostic errors during the initial trauma assessment were a frequent contributor to preventable harm.
Ohrn A, Elfström J, Liedgren C, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2011;37:495-501.
Hospitals are being encouraged to engage patients in safety programs, in part because prior studies have shown that patients themselves can be a unique source of information about adverse events. In Sweden, clinicians are required to report cases of serious adverse events, and patients can obtain compensation for such events through a no-fault malpractice insurance system. However, this study found that more than 80% of cases where patients were compensated for severe injuries were not reported by practitioners, including many cases of health care–associated infections and diagnostic errors. The related editorial calls for hospitals to redouble their efforts to promote patient participation in reporting and addressing patient safety problems.
Wiener RS, Schwartz LM, Woloshin S. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171:831-7.
Since the introduction of new diagnostic technologies in the late 1990s, pulmonary embolism diagnoses have increased, but mortality from pulmonary embolisms has not decreased. This combination of findings likely represents overdiagnosis—either due to false-positive diagnoses or detection (and treatment) of clinically insignificant clots.
Fitzgerald M, Cameron P, Mackenzie C, et al. Arch Surg. 2011;146:218-25.
Accurate initial assessment and resuscitation of trauma patients is critical to ensuring correct treatment and survival, and although standardized algorithms have been developed for initial trauma evaluation, errors are not uncommon. This innovative randomized controlled trial implemented a computerized clinician decision support system (CDSS) to ensure adherence to standardized protocols for trauma resuscitation, and used video capture of trauma resuscitations to assess the effects of the CDSS on patient outcomes. Use of the CDSS resulted in significantly reduced errors, and also reduced morbidity compared to standard treatment. This study demonstrates the utility of a CDSS in a fast-paced, high-acuity environment.
Dückers M, Faber M, Cruijsberg J, et al. Med Care Res Rev. 2009;66:90S-119S.
Improving patient safety requires development of a culture of safety and transformation into a learning organization—one that has the capacity to rapidly address problems through information sharing and learning from past experience. In this systematic review, the authors characterize the published literature on organizational safety programs, and summarize published data on error detection methods (such as incident reporting systems), error analysis, and systems to mitigate and reduce specific errors (such as diagnostic errors and medication errors). The review is limited by publication bias (the preferential publication of studies with positive results) and the descriptive nature of most studies, reducing the generalizability of these studies for other organizations. An AHRQ WebM&M perspective discusses organizational approaches to safety improvement in academic and community settings.
Levtzion-Korach O, Alcalai H, Orav EJ, et al. J Patient Saf. 2009;52:9-15.
The limitations of standard incident reporting systems have been well documented. Although ubiquitous and relatively easy to use, such systems detect only a fraction of adverse events, are underused by physicians, and yield data that often are not analyzed or disseminated promptly. This analysis of data from a commercial, web-based system at an academic hospital confirms some prior concerns, but the authors were able to demonstrate that rapid review of reports resulted in specific system changes to improve workflow and safety. A prior article presented a framework for using incident reporting data to improve patient safety.
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