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Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. Harrisburg, PA: Patient Safety Authority; April 2022.
This report summarizes patient safety improvement work in the state of Pennsylvania and reviews the 2021 activities of the Patient Safety Authority, including the Agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, video programs, liaison efforts, publication programs, and the launch of a new learning management system.
Olivarius‐McAllister J, Pandit M, Sykes A, et al. Anaesthesia. 2021;76:1616-1624.
UK Regulators measure never events to assess hospital safety culture and dictate reimbursement. The authors suggest that regulators focus on reducing the national never event rate through shared learning and an integrated system-wide approach, rather than concentrating on underperforming, outlier hospitals where factors such as safety culture maybe contributing to increased rates of never events.
Omar I, Graham Y, Singhal R, et al. World J Surg. 2021;45:697-704.
Never events can result in serious patient harm and indicate serious underlying organizational safety problems. This study analyzed never events occurring between 2012 and 2020 in the National Health Services and categorized 51 common never events into four categories – wrong site surgery (40% of events); retained foreign objects post-procedure (28%); wrong implant/prosthesis (13%); and non-surgical/infrequent never events (19%). Awareness of these themes may support focused efforts to reduce their incidence and development of specific local safety standards. 
Omar I, Singhal R, Wilson M, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33:mzab045.
Never events, a significant type of adverse event, should never occur in healthcare. This study analyzed 797 surgical never events that occurred from April 2012 to February 2020 in the National Health Service (NHS) England and categorized them into three main categories: wrong-site surgery (53.58%), retained items post-procedure (44.54%), and wrong implant/prosthesis (1.88%). In total 56 common general surgery never events have been found. Being aware of the common themes may help providers to develop more effective strategies to prevent these adverse events.
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.
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.
Hensley NB, Koch CG, Pronovost PJ, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:190-198.
Following a sentinel wrong-patient event, a multidisciplinary quality improvement team worked to enhance the safety of blood transfusion. The authors report significant improvement in protocol adherence following institution of barcoding and auditing via the electronic health record.
Neily J, Soncrant C, Mills PD, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1:e185147.
The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum both consider wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgeries to be never events. Despite improvement approaches ranging from the Universal Protocol to nonpayment for the procedures themselves and any consequent care, these serious surgical errors continue to occur. This study measured the incidence of incorrect surgeries in Veterans Health Administration medical centers from 2010 to 2017. Surgical patient safety events resulting in harm were rare and declined by more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2017. Dentistry, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery had the highest incidence of in–operating room adverse events. Root cause analysis revealed that 29% of events could have been prevented with a correctly performed time-out. A WebM&M commentary examined an incident involving a wrong-side surgery.
Gillespie BM, Harbeck EL, Lavin J, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2018;7:e000362.
Checklists like the Universal Protocol are a widely accepted strategy for reducing wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong patient surgeries. The authors describe a campaign that improved checklist participation and completion in an academic hospital in Australia. A PSNet interview with Lucian Leape explored the challenges of achieving robust and universal use of checklists.
Spruce L. AORN J. 2018;107:116-125.
Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient errors are surgical never events. This commentary describes a structured communication practice requirement designed to address the problem. The author outlines elements of the protocol and reviews implementation strategies.
McKinley J, Dempster M, Gormley GJ. Med Educ. 2015;49:427-35.
Wrong-side procedures still occur at alarming rates, particularly outside of the operating room. This study exposed medical students to various types of distractions and measured their ability to distinguish a person's left from right side from different perspectives. Cognitive distractions had a bigger negative impact than ambient ward noise on the students' performance.
St Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health; 2015.
This report provides background on the Minnesota Never Events reporting initiative, tips for patients on how to receive the safest care possible, and a table of events reported by all hospitals in the state.
Mehtsun WT, Ibrahim AM, Diener-West M, et al. Surgery. 2013;153:465-472.
More than a decade ago, stories of wrong site surgeries and retained surgical objects galvanized the patient safety movement. Despite public uproar and attention focused on these never events, such incidents continue to occur at alarming rates. This study found that surgeons make these mistakes more than 4000 times per year in the United States. Related malpractice payments have amounted to more than $1.3 billion over the last 20 years. Although this financial burden is substantial, it may pale in comparison to the degree of patient harm resulting from these preventable errors. An incident of wrong-site surgery is discussed in an AHRQ WebM&M commentary.
Neily J, Mills PD, Eldridge N, et al. Arch Surg. 2011;146:1235-9.
This analysis of incorrect surgical procedures in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system found an overall decline in the number of reported wrong-site, wrong-patient, and wrong-procedure errors compared with the authors' prior study. As in the earlier report, half of the incorrect procedures occurred outside of the operating room. Root cause analyses of errors revealed that lack of standardization and human factors issues were major contributing factors. During the time period of this study, the VA implemented a teamwork training program that has been associated with a significant decline in surgical mortality. The authors propose that additional, focused team training may be one solution to this persistent problem.
Ring DC, Herndon JH, Meyer GS. N Engl J Med. 2010;363:1950-7.
The Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital are one of the most hallowed traditions in the medical literature, having been published weekly in the New England Journal of Medicine for more than a century. In contrast to the usual clinical focus, this article discusses a never event—a case of a patient who underwent the wrong surgical procedure. Presented by the surgeon himself, the article details the factors that led to the error, including production pressures, language barriers, and failure to perform a time out, and explores the ramifications of the error for the surgeon, the patient, and the institution.
Duthie EA. J Patient Saf. 2010;6:108-114.
This study examines five wrong-procedure cases by applying James Reason’s human error theory, and describes the role of human behavior and cognitive processes in the events. The authors conclude that a systems approach is a more effective prevention strategy than relying on education, counseling, and disciplinary action.