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Ostrow O, Prodanuk M, Foong Y, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;150:e2021055866.
Appropriate antibiotic prescribing is a core component of antibiotic stewardship programs to reduce the risk of antibiotic-resistant microbes. This study assessed the rate of misdiagnosed pediatric urinary tract infections (UTI) and associated antibiotic use following implementation of a quality improvement intervention. Using three interventions (diagnostic algorithm, callback system, standardized discharge antibiotic prescription), misdiagnosis of UTI decreased by half, and 2,128 antibiotic days were saved.
Bourne RS, Jennings JK, Panagioti M, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:609-622.
Patients transferring from the intensive care unit (ICU) to the hospital ward may experience medication errors. This systematic review examined medication-related interventions on the impact of medication errors in ICU patients transferring to the hospital ward. Seventeen studies were included with five identified intervention components. Multi-component studies based on staff education and guidelines were effective at achieving almost four times more deprescribing on inappropriate medications by the time of discharge. Recommendations for improving transfers are included.
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.  
Koo JK, Moyer L, Castello MA, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2020;5:e329.
Children are highly vulnerable to safety risks associated with written handoffs. This article describes the impact of unit-wide implementation of a new handoff tool using electronic health record (EHR) auto-populated fields for pertinent neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient data. Handoff time remained the same, and the tool increased the accuracy of patient data included in handoffs and reduced the frequency of incorrect medications listing. 
Parro Martín M de los Á, Muñoz García M, Delgado Silveira E, et al. J Eval Clin Pract. 2021;27:160-166.
Researchers analyzed medication errors occurring in the trauma service of a single university hospital in Spain to inform the development and implementation of a set of measures to improve the safety of the pharmacotherapeutic process. The Multidisciplinary Hospital Safety Group proposed improvement measures that intend to involve pharmacists in medication reconciliation, increase the use of medication reconciliation in the emergency and trauma departments, and incorporate protocols and alerts into the electronic prescribing system.
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.
DeAntonio JH, Leichtle SW, Hobgood S, et al. J Surg Res. 2019;246:482-489.
Trauma patients are particularly vulnerable to medication errors due to the severity of their injuries and the multiple handoffs and transitions often occurring during their hospital stay. This article reviewed existing medication reconciliation strategies and found that many have poor accuracy, can be costly and time-consuming, and may not be applicable to a trauma population.  The authors comment on the urgent need for research supporting safe and efficient medication reconciliation in trauma patients.
Tully AP, Hammond DA, Li C, et al. Crit Care Med. 2019;47:543-549.
Transitions of care, whether from the hospital to the outpatient setting or within the hospital itself, represent a vulnerable time for patients. Inadequate communication during handoffs that occur as part of care transitions can contribute to adverse events and errors, including medication errors. This study of 58 intensive care units (ICUs) across 34 United States hospitals and 2 Dutch hospitals sought to assess medication errors among patients transferred from ICUs. Of the 985 patients included in the study, almost half (46%) experienced a medication error during transition out of the ICU. Discontinuing orders and reordering medications at the time of transfer out of the ICU as well as daily patient rounding in the ICU were associated with decreased odds of medication error during transition. A past Annual Perspective discussed challenges associated with handoffs and transitions of care.
Dolejs SC, Janowak CF, Zarzaur BL. Am Surg. 2017;83:780-785.
Despite the widespread adoption of health information technology, medication errors remain a significant source of patient harm. This study found that medication errors in trauma patients were more common among those who were severely injured and who remained in the hospital for a longer amount of time.
Epstein RH, Dexter F, Gratch DM, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2017;43:396-402.
Prior research has shown that handoff practices between anesthesiologists in the operating room may be inadequate. Investigators found that handoffs among anesthesia providers that involved a permanent transfer of patient care during an operating room case led to an increased risk of controlled medication discrepancies between what was documented by the anesthesiologists and recorded in pharmacy transaction data.
Farmer B. Emerg Med (N Y). 2016;48.
Emergency departments are high-risk environments due to the urgency of care needs and complexity of communication. This commentary explores challenges associated with medication administration, handoffs, discharge processes, and electronic health records in emergency medicine and recommends strategies to reduce risks.
Callinan SM, Brandt NJ. J Gerontol Nurs. 2015;41:8-13.
Highlighting risks associated with transitions of older patients between the emergency department and long-term care, this commentary describes strategies to improve communication, and subsequently medication safety, as these patients move from one care environment to another.
Tscholl DW, Weiss M, Kolbe M, et al. Anesth Analg. 2015;121:948-956.
This pre-post study demonstrated increases in teamwork after introduction of an anesthesia checklist. Although evidence for checklists in real-world settings is mixed, this work demonstrates their efficacy as part of an intervention study, which is consistent with prior work.
Schillig J, Kaatz S, Hudson M, et al. J Hosp Med. 2011;6:322-8.
Patients receiving warfarin therapy are at high risk for adverse events. Interventions to improve warfarin safety have focused on trigger tools, communication protocols, and the use of visual medication schedules. This study implemented a pharmacist-directed anticoagulation service to capture inpatients on warfarin and provide them with dosing, monitoring, and coordination of transition from the inpatient to outpatient setting. This cluster randomized trial demonstrated safer transitions in 73% more patients and a 32% reduction in the composite safety end point, which was driven by fewer patients experiencing an INR ≥ 5 (i.e., supratherapeutic levels that increase the risk of bleeding). This study adds further support to the role of pharmacists in driving medication safety, specifically for warfarin in both the inpatient and community settings. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed a case of a near miss due to a warfarin drug interaction that led to a supratherapeutic level following hospital discharge.
Bell CM, Brener SS, Gunraj N, et al. JAMA. 2011;306:840-7.
Care transitions are a vulnerable time for patients, particularly following hospitalization when discharge communication, pending tests, and medication reconciliation are all known challenges. This study analyzed a population-based data set containing both hospitalization and outpatient prescription records to identify the incidence of potentially unintentional medication discontinuation among patients 66 years or older. Analyzing nearly 400,000 patients, investigators found high rates of medication discontinuation ranging from 5% to 19% across 5 evidence-based medication classes (e.g., lipid lowering, thyroid replacement, antiplatelet agents) for hospitalized patients. Admission to the ICU was associated with an even greater risk of medication discontinuation. While some medication discontinuation is not surprising in the setting of a critical illness that may create new contraindications to preexisting medications, both this study and an accompanying editorial [see link below] raise appropriate concern about carefully reconciling chronic disease medications following hospitalization. A past AHRQ WebM&M conversation and perspective discussed the challenges and opportunities for improving care transitions.
Grimes TC, Duggan CA, Delaney TP, et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011;71:449-57.
Medication errors at hospital discharge remain a persistent problem, as no consensus exists on the best method of medication reconciliation. This study analyzed the patient- and medication-specific factors associated with medication reconciliation discrepancies upon discharge from two Irish hospitals.
Boockvar KS, Livote EE, Goldstein N, et al. Qual Saf Health Care. 2010;19:e16.
Addressing handoffs in patient care is a continued challenge, particularly around medication safety. Medication reconciliation was seen as a preventive strategy to handle such concerns, though the lack of proven strategies led The Joint Commission to soften its previous National Patient Safety Goal. A commonly held belief is that electronic health records (EHRs) provide solutions to communicating health information. This study compared medication reconciliation events for patient handoffs within a computerized VA system to a paper-based system outside the VA. Interestingly, there was no significant difference between medication discrepancies and adverse drug events (ADEs) in the highly computerized system. The authors suggest that their findings support a need for specialized tools to facilitate medication review at times of transfer. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed medication reconciliation after an avoidable error.