Anesthesiologists often must oversee multiple surgeries. This study evaluated adult patients from 23 US academic and private hospitals who underwent major surgery between 2010, and 2017, to examine anesthesiologist staffing ratios against patient morbidity and mortality. The authors categorized the staffing into four groups based on the number of operations the anesthesiologist was covering. The study found that increased anesthesiologist coverage was associated with greater risk-adjusted morbidity and mortality of surgical patients. Hospitals should consider evaluating anesthesiology staffing to determine potential increased risks.
Fear of criminal liability may inhibit clinicians from reporting medical errors, thereby reducing opportunities for learning. This commentary discusses recent legal actions brought against clinicians, including Tennessee nurse RaDonda Vaught, and the negative impact such actions may have on the longstanding disclosure movement.
Montgomery A, Lainidi O, Johnson J, et al. Health Care Manage Rev. 2022;Epub Jun 16.
When faced with a patient safety concern, staff need to decide whether to speak up or remain silent. Leaders play a crucial role in addressing contextual factors behind employees’ decisions to remain silent. This article offers support for leaders to create a culture of psychological safety and encourage speaking up behaviors.
Unintentionally retained foreign objects can be exacerbated by fatigue, distractions, and communication errors. This article highlights the importance of effective teamwork, high reliability orientation, and standardized surgical count methods to minimize the persistent problem of retained surgical items.
Abildgren L, Lebahn-Hadidi M, Mogensen CB, et al. Adv Simul (Lond). 2022;7:12.
Simulation is becoming more common in healthcare education programs, but often focuses on in-hospital, skills-based training aimed at developing team human factors skills. This systematic review included 72 studies from 2004-2021 that included human factors skills with a variety of different designs, types of training interventions, and assessment tools and methods. The authors concluded that simulation-based training was effective in training teams in human factors skills; additional work is needed on the retention and transfer of those skills to practice.
Halvorson EE, Thurtle DP, Easter A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Jul 6.
Voluntary event reporting (VER) systems are required in most hospitals, but their effectiveness is limited if adverse events (AE) go unreported. In this study, researchers compared rates of AE submitted to the VER against those identified using the Global Assessment of Pediatric Patient Safety (GAPPS) trigger tool to identify disparities based on patient characteristics (i.e., weight, race, English proficiency). The GAPPS tool identified 37 AE in patients with limited English proficiency; none of these were reported to the VER system, suggesting a systematic underreporting of AE in this population.
Plint AC, Newton AS, Stang A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jul 19.
While adverse events (AE) in pediatric emergency departments are rare, the majority are considered preventable. This study reports on the proportion of pediatric patients experiencing an AE within 21 days of an emergency department visit, whether the AE may have been preventable, and the type of AE (e.g., management, diagnostic). Results show 3% of children experienced at least one AE, most of which were preventable.
Blythe R, Parsons R, White NM, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Jun 22.
Early recognition of clinical deterioration in patients is often difficult to detect and often results in poor patient outcomes. This scoping review focused on the delivery and response to deterioration alerts and their impact on patient outcomes. Only four out of 18 studies included in the review reported statistically significant improvements in at least two patient outcomes, Authors suggest that workflow and integration of the early warning system model’s features into the decision-making process may be helpful.
Smith K, Durant KM, Zimmerman C. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:1198-1204.
Clinical decision support (CDS) systems built into electronic health records are designed to alert providers to potentially unsafe orders, but many alerts are ignored or overridden. This article describes the effectiveness of one hospital’s clinical decision support for high-risk medications both before and after alert improvements.
Li W, Stimec J, Camp M, et al. J Emerg Med. 2022;62:524-533.
While pediatric musculoskeletal radiograph misinterpretations are rare, it is important to know what features of the image area are associated with false-positive or false-negative diagnoses. In this study, pediatric emergency medicine physicians were asked to interpret radiographs with and without known fractures. False-positive diagnosis (i.e., a fracture was identified when there was none) were reviewed by an expert panel to identify the location and anatomy most prone to misdiagnosis.
Samal L, Khasnabish S, Foskett C, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Jul 21.
Adverse events can be identified through multiple methods, including trigger tools and voluntary reporting systems. In this comparison study, the Global Trigger Tool identified 79 AE in 88 oncology patients, compared to 21 in the voluntary reporting system; only two AE were identified by both. Results indicate multiple sources should be used to detect AE.
de Kraker MEA, Tartari E, Tomczyk S, et al. Lancet Infect Dis. 2022;22:835-844.
Hand hygiene is known to be a critical part of effective infection prevention and control. This study examined the level of hand hygiene implementation using the WHO Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework global survey and its drivers. There were 3,206 organizations from 90 different countries that responded. Over half of the participants indicated they had intermediate hand hygiene implementation, particularly those with higher county income levels and facility funding. Implementation of alcohol-based hand rub stations was an important system change associated with improved scores.
Eldridge N, Wang Y, Metersky M, et al. JAMA. 2022;328:173.
Improving patient safety in hospitals is a longstanding national priority. Using longitudinal Medicare data from 2010 to 2019, this study identified a significant decrease in the rates of adverse events (e.g., adverse drug events, hospital-acquired infections, postoperative adverse events, hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, falls) over time among patients hospitalized for four common conditions – acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical procedures.
Strong patient safety culture is a cornerstone to sustained safety improvements. This cross-sectional study explored nurses’ perceptions about patient safety culture. Identified areas of strength included non-punitive responses to errors and teamwork, and areas for improvement focused on supervisor and manager expectations, responses, and actions to promote safety and open communication. The authors highlight the importance of measuring patient safety culture in order to improve hospitals’ patient safety improvement practices, overall performance and quality of healthcare delivery.
Electronic health record (EHR) system implementation should optimize interoperability and support clinician decision making. This commentary discusses a strategy to aid in the sociotechnical design of interfaces and involvement of the myriad of individuals that use EHRs, including patients.
Rare diseases can present diagnostic challenges to clinicians. This article discusses how cognitive biases can impede diagnosis of rare conditions and strategies to improve diagnostic safety in critical care, such as diagnostic timeouts.
Barcode medication administration (BCMA) is one approach to reducing near-miss medication safety events. Researchers used a FOCUS (find-organize-clarify-understand-select) PDSA (plan-do-study-act) methodology to help frontline nursing staff identify gaps in care processes and root causes contributing to poor compliance with barcode medication administration.
De Micco F, Fineschi V, Banfi G, et al. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022;9:901788.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in the use of telehealth. This article summarizes several challenges that need to be addressed (e.g., human factors, provider-patient relationships, structural, and technological factors) in order to support continuous improvement in the safety of health care delivered via telemedicine.
Walther F, Schick C, Schwappach DLB, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub May 4.
Historically, there have been many patient safety errors associated with healthcare workers’ failure to speak up and report when they notice a problem. Many studies have identified organizational culture as important in creating a safe environment for workers to report medical errors. This study reports on a multimodal program to educate and train healthcare workers resulting in improvements on speaking up behaviors.
Halvorson EE, Thurtle DP, Easter A, et al. Acad Pediatr. 2022;22:747-753.
Previous research has identified an association between patient weight and certain adverse events and patient safety threats, such as medication dosing errors and airway management. After analyzing data for pediatric patients discharged from a single children’s hospital, researchers in this study did not identify an association between patient body mass index (BMI) and the rate, severity, or preventability of adverse events.
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