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Parker H, Frost J, Day J, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0271454.
Prophylactic antimicrobials are frequently prescribed for surgical patients despite the risks of antimicrobial overuse (e.g., resistance). This review summarizes how and why antimicrobials continue to be prescribed in surgical settings despite evidence of overuse. Eight overarching concepts were identified: hierarchy; fear drives action; deprioritized; convention trumps evidence; complex judgments; discontinuity of care; team dynamics; and practice environment.
Bicket MC, Waljee JF, Hilliard P. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3:e221356.
Concern for improved prescribing of opiates motivated the development of programs and policies that have inadvertently caused new problems. This commentary discusses the impact of nonopioid use during surgery as a patient preference. It discusses the potential for adverse impacts of the strategy while recognizing the unique situation of perioperative use of pain medications.
Abdelmalak BB, Adhami T, Simmons W, et al. Anesth Analg. 2022;135:198-208.
A 2009 CMS Condition of Participation (CoP) requires that a director of anesthesia services assume overall responsibility for anesthesia administered in the hospital, including procedural sedation provided by nonanesthesiologists. This article reviews the CoP as it relates to procedural sedation, lays out a framework for implementing this role, and describes challenges of implementation in a large health system.

The APSF Committee on Technology. APSF Newsletter2022;37(1):7–8.

Variation across standards and processes can result in misunderstandings that disrupt care safety. This guidance applied expert consensus to examine existing anesthesia monitoring standards worldwide. Recommendations are provided for organizations and providers to guide anesthesia practice in a variety of environments to address patient safety issues including accidental patient awareness during surgery.
Zheng MY, Lui H, Patino G, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e401-e406.
California law requires adverse events that led to serious injury or death because of hospital noncompliance to be reported to the state licensing agency. These events are referred to as “immediate jeopardy.” Using publicly available data, this study analyzed all immediate jeopardy cases between 2007 and 2017. Of the 385 immediate jeopardy cases, 36.6% led to patient death, and the most common category was surgical.
Warner MA, Warner ME. Anesthesiology. 2021;135:963-974.
The legacy of anesthesiology as a leader in patient safety is reviewed as a model for other communities seeking to reduce medical error. The authors highlight the collaboration strategies that the specialty embraced as a key component of its success.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices

The perioperative setting is a high-risk area for medication errors, should they occur. This assessment provides hospitals and outpatient surgical providers a tool to examine their medication use processes and share data nationwide for comparison. Organizational participation can identify strengths and gaps in their systems to design opportunities that prevent patient harm. 

Ruskin KJ, ed. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2021;34(6):720-765

Anesthesia services are high risk despite progress made in the specialty to improve its safety. This special section covers issues that affect anesthesia safety such as critical incident debriefing, human factors, and educational strategies.

ECRI and Institute for Safe Medication Practices. January 2022 through May 2022.

Collaboratives provide teams with active learning and improvement opportunities based on the experiences of others working toward a collective goal. This collaborative will target safety during surgical procedures. The discussions protected under the sponsors’ Patient Safety Organization status will explore improvement topics such as medication errors and surgical site infections.
De Cassai A, Negro S, Geraldini F, et al. PLoS One. 2021;16:e0257508.
Inattentional blindness occurs when individuals miss an unexpected event due to competing attentional tasks.  This study asked anesthesiologists to review the anesthetic management of five simulated cases, one of which included the image of a gorilla in the radiograph, to evaluate inattentional blindness. Only 4.9% of social media respondents reported an abnormality, suggesting that inattentional blindness may be common; the authors suggest several strategies to reduce this error.

Bekes JL, Sackash CR, Voss AL, et al. AANA J. 2021;89(4):319-324.

Pediatric medication errors during anesthesia can lead to significant harm and are largely preventable. This review identifies several themes around medication errors including dosing and incorrect medication. Successful error reduction strategies, such as standardized labeling and pre-filled syringes, are also described.

A 78-year-old woman with macular degeneration presented for a pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) under monitored anesthesia care (MAC) with an eye block. At this particular hospital, eye cases under MAC are typically performed with an eye block by the surgeon after the anesthesiologist has administered some short-acting sedation, commonly with remifentanil. On this day, there was a shortage of premixed remifentanil and the resident – who was unfamiliar with the process of drug dilution – incorrectly diluted the remifentanil solution.

Leeftink AG, Visser J, de Laat JM, et al. Ergonomics. 2021:1-11.
Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is widely used to identify latent safety hazards. The authors of this study proposed combining healthcare failure mode and effect analysis (HFMEA) with computer simulation (HFMEA-CS) for prospective risk analysis of complex and potentially harmful processes. Use of HFMEA-CS to analyze medication processes during admission and discharge for patients with a rare adrenal tumor led to a reduction in drug delivery and system errors, as well as increased drug adherence.
Urman RD, Seger DL, Fiskio JM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e76-e83.
Harm from opioids is a widely recognized patient safety issue, and potential harm associated with short-term use is a growing area of concern. This analysis of a previously opioid-free surgical population identified a high rate of potential opioid-related adverse drug events (ORADEs); risk was strongly associated with route and duration of post-operative opioid administration. The presence of an ORADE was associated with longer postoperative length of stay, higher hospitalization costs, lower odds of discharge home, and higher odds of death.

MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; January 27, 2021.  

Labeling mistakes in the pharmaceutical production cycle can remain undetected until the affected medication reaches a patient. This alert reports a recall of a neuromuscular blocker for use in surgery due to it being mislabeled as a medication to increase blood pressure. 
Haché M, Sun LS, Gadi G, et al. Paediatr Anaesth. 2020;30:1348-1354.
The Wake Up Safe initiative includes a registry of serious adverse events occurring in pediatric anesthesia. This study analyzed events reported between 2010 and 2015. The most common anesthesia-related events were medication events, respiratory complications, and cardiac events. Approximately 85% of these events were considered to be preventable.  

Ruskin KJ, ed. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol.  2020;33(6):774-822.

The complexity of care delivery requires complementary approaches to prevent mistakes. This special section shares clinical and organizational tactics to address anesthesiology safety issues. They include automation failures, the role of the obstetric anesthesiologist in maternal safety, and monitoring effectiveness. 
Fillo KT. Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, Department of Public Health. Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts; 2020.
This annual report compiles patient safety data documented by Massachusetts hospitals. The 2019 numbers represent a modest increase in serious reportable events recorded in acute care hospitals, from 1066 the previous year to 1189. This presentation also includes events from ambulatory surgery centers. Previous years reports are also available.
Duffy CC, Bass GA, Duncan JR, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:16-25.
Incident reporting systems are central to most patient safety programs, but studies have identified barriers to effective use. This study used clinical vignettes describing a medication error or near miss to explore error awareness and attitudes towards reporting and disclosure among anesthesiologists. Approximately one-third of anesthesiologists recalled having had medication safety training. Perioperative medication error awareness and assessment of potential harm were variable, and the likelihood of patient disclosure and incident reporting was low. Education programs utilizing vignettes should be utilized to raise awareness about error reporting and disclosure behaviors.