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Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; 2022. HSIB Report no. NI-005831

This report summarizes the work of an independent office that examines maternity care safety lapses in the United Kingdom. It discusses the number of investigations done, criteria for investigation selection and primary improvement themes drawn from the review of 706 investigations in the period covered which include clinical assessment and oversight, care escalation, and fetal monitoring. The report outlines the goal to establish a maternity review effort as an independent entity in 2023.
Ghaith S, Campbell RL, Pollock JR, et al. Healthcare (Basel). 2022;10:1328.
Obstetric and gynecologic (OB/GYN) physicians are frequently involved in malpractice lawsuits, some of which result in catastrophic payouts. This study categorized malpractice claims involving OB/GYN trainees (students, residents, and fellows) between 1986 and 2020. Cases are categorized by type of injury, patient outcome, category of error, outcome of lawsuit, and amount of settlement.
Prieto JM, Falcone B, Greenberg P, et al. J Surg Res. 2022;279:84-88.
Hospitalized children are vulnerable to patient safety risks. Using a large malpractice claims database, researchers found that a wide range of pediatric surgical specialties – including orthopedics, general surgery, and otolaryngology – are most frequently associated with malpractice lawsuits. The study identified several potentially modifiable factors (i.e., patient evaluations, technical performance, and communication) that can lead to improvements in pediatric surgical safety.

US Senate Finance Committee. 117th Cong (2021-2022). August 3, 2022.

Organ transplantation processes require reliable communication and technical expertise to ensure safety for organ delivery and patient care. This hearing discussed the findings of a United States Senate investigation into waste and harm in the US organ transplant system. Blood-type mistakes, transport failures, and process challenges were amongst the problems discussed.
St Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health.
The National Quality Forum has defined 29 never events—patient safety problems that should never occur, such as wrong-site surgery and patient falls. Since 2003, Minnesota hospitals have been required to report such incidents. The 2021 report summarizes information about 508 adverse events that were reported, representing a significant increase in the year covered. Earlier reports document a fairly consistent count of adverse events. The rise reflected here is likely due to demands on staffing and care processes associated with COVID-19. Pressure ulcers and fall-related injuries were the most common incidents documented. Reports from previous years are available.
Milliren CE, Bailey G, Graham DA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e741-e746.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) use a variety of quality indicators to measure and rank hospital performance. In this study, researchers analyzed the variance between AHRQ pediatric quality indicators and CMS hospital-acquired condition indicators and evaluated the use of alternative composite scores. The researchers identified substantial within-hospital variation across the indicators and could not identify a single composite measure capable of capturing all of the variance observed across the broad range of outcomes. The authors call for additional research to identify meaningful approaches to performance ranking for children’s hospitals.
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.
Forrester JD, Maggio PM, Tennakoon L. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e477-e479.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) result in poorer patient outcomes and increased costs. The 2016 national data set of five common HAIs (surgical site infections, catheter- and line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associate urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and Clostridioides difficile) was analyzed to create an estimated national cost. Clostridioides difficile was the most frequently reported; Clostridioides difficile and surgical site infections accounted for 79% of costs.
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.
Steffany M. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;41:31-38.
Concerns have been raised regarding the need to assess the competencies of aging physicians. This article discusses how different entities (e.g., health systems, states, and professional medical organizations) are addressing this issue through competency-based assessments, peer review, and credentialing requirements.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
In this annual publication, AHRQ reviews the results of the National Healthcare Quality Report and National Healthcare Disparities Report. The 2021 report highlights that a wide range of quality measures have shown improvement in quality, access, and cost.
Fan B, Pardo J, Yu-Moe CW, et al. Ann Surg Oncol. 2021;28:8109-8115.
While prior research has described malpractice cases related to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, this study sought to identify errors specifically related to breast cancer surgical procedures. Plastic surgeons were the most commonly named provider type (64%), error in surgical treatment was the most common allegation (87%), and infection, cosmetic injury, emotional trauma, foreign body, and nosocomial infection were the top 5 injury descriptions.
Douglas RN, Stephens LS, Posner KL, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2021;127:470-478.
Effective communication among providers helps ensure patient safety. Through analysis of perioperative malpractice claims using the Anesthesia Closed Claims Project database, researchers found that communication failures contributed to 43% of total claims, with the majority between the anesthesiologist/anesthesia team and the surgeon/surgery team. Methods to improve perioperative communication are discussed.
Synan LT, Eid MA, Lamb CR, et al. Surgery. 2021;170:764-768.
This study compared unsolicited hospital reviews posted online by patients with Hospital Compare patient satisfaction and postsurgical safety indicators. While there was variation in consumer ratings between platforms, unstructured consumer reviews were generally correlated with Hospital Compare patient satisfaction scores; consumer platforms were not consistently correlated with postsurgical patient safety indicators.
Cohen AJ, Lui H, Zheng M, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4:e217058.
While rare, surgical never events can have tragic consequences for patients including permanent harm and death. This study analyzed 142 surgical never events reported to the California Department of Public Health. Retained foreign objects were the most commonly reported never event (66.2%), followed by wrong site or wrong patient (15.5%), and surgical burns (7.7%). Recommended strategies to reduce and prevent never events include proper use of intraoperative checklists.

Safety in Numbers: Hospital Performance on Leapfrog’s Surgical Volume Standard Based on Results of the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Washington DC; 2020.

Surgical volume standards are a metric used to assess the needed experience in performing distinct types of procedures. This report analyzed data from over 2,100 hospitals and found approximately half to be deficient in fully adhering to the standards while implementing mechanisms to minimize unnecessary surgeries
Kremer MJ, Hirsch M, Geisz-Everson M, et al. AANA J. 2019;87.
This thematic analysis identified 123 events comprising malpractice claims in the closed claims database of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Foundation that the investigators determined could have been prevented by the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist involved. Among the factors identified as being associated with preventable events were communication failures, violations of the AANA Standards for Nurse Anesthesia Practice, and errors in judgment.
Feeley D, Torres T. Healthcare Executive. 2020;35:58-61.
A variety of biases can reduce the effectiveness and safety of care. This commentary focuses on racial bias and highlights its deleterious impact on maternity care and maternal safety. The authors suggest tactics to improve listening, implicit bias acknowledgement and data standardization as strategies to counteract the trend.