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Washington, DC: United States Government Accountability Office; November 30, 2021. Publication GAO-22-105142.

Patient complaints have the potential to be used for care improvement as they surface problems in health facilities. This report examined complaint response processes in Veterans Affairs nursing homes and found them lacking. Five recommendations submitted to drive improvement underscore the value of adherence to policy and the transfer of complaint experiences to leadership.

The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety improvement strategies, and resources for design.

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Care Quality Commission; September 2021.

The safety of maternity care is threatened by inequity. This report analyzes a set of United Kingdom investigation reports to identify issues affecting maternity care to determine their prevalence elsewhere in the system. Problems identified include poor leadership and teamwork, as well as learning and cross-service collaboration.

Famolaro T, Hare R, Tapia A, Yount et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; December 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 22-0004.

Ambulatory surgery centers harbor unique characteristics that affect safety culture. This analysis from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) shares results of 235 ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) participating in the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture (SOPS) Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey. Most respondents (92%) rated their organization as committed to learning and continuous improvement.
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. This 2021 report highlights that a wide range of quality measures have shown improvement in quality, access, and cost.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; November 2021. AHRQ Pub. No. 22-0005.

This analysis of reports submitted by Patient Safety Organizations during the early months of the COVID pandemic found that patients testing positive for COVID-19 or being investigated for carrying the virus was the most frequently reported patient safety concern (26.6%). In addition, patients and staff being exposed to individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19 was identified as a patient safety issue in 18.2% of the records analyzed.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; December 2021. AHRQ Publication No. 22-0009.

In consultation with AHRQ, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered a final report on effective strategies to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors to Congress. Required by the Patient Safety Act of 2005, the report was made available for public review and comment, and review by the National Academy of Medicine. It outlined several strategies to accelerate progress in improving patient safety, including using analytic approaches in patient safety research, measurement, and practice improvement to monitor risk; implementing evidence-based practices in real-world settings through clinically useful tools and infrastructure; encouraging the development of learning health systems that integrate continuous learning and improvement in day-to-day operations; and encouraging the use of patient safety strategies outlined in the National Action Plan by the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety.

Rockville MD, Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research. December 7, 2021.

The TeamSTEPPS program is an established approach for improving teamwork and communication in health care. This announcement calls for feedback from healthcare teams and team members on how to update the current TeamSTEPPS training curriculum. The deadline for submitting comments is January 10, 2022.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. January 12, 2:00-3:00 PM (eastern).

An organization’s understanding of its culture is foundational to patient safety. This webinar will introduce the AHRQ Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS®) program. The session will cover the types of surveys available and review resources available to best use the data to facilitate conversations and comparisons to inform improvement efforts. 

December 16, 2021. 

The release of the Workplace Safety supplemental items for use in conjunction with the AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture™ helps hospitals assess how their organizational culture supports workplace safety for providers and staff. This webinar provided background on the importance of workplace safety and introduce the Workplace Safety supplemental items.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2021.

AHRQ’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS®) ask health care providers and staff about the extent to which their organizational culture supports patient safety. The release of the Workplace Safety supplemental items for use in conjunction with the AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture™ helps hospitals assess how their workplace culture supports workplace safety for providers and staff. Included with the data set is a report of the pilot test of the finding. You can learn more about the supplemental items and can register for a webcast introducing the Workplace Safety items here: Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS®) | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ahrq.gov)  

Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Fed Register. November 3, 2021;(86):60883-60893.

Patient suicide attempts are considered never events. This funding announcement calls for program applications to motivate suicide prevention strategy implementation in the indigenous peoples’ community. The effort anchors on the Zero Suicide initiative to address unique challenges presented by the Indian health system. 

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Special Emphasis Notice. October 28, 2021 Publication No. NOT-HS-22-004.

Digital information tools are increasingly relied upon to assist in care communication and decision support, yet their safety hasn’t been fully examined. This announcement highlights AHRQ interest in funding research on the safe use of digital information solutions with a focus on program implementation, system design, and usability.

US House of Representatives Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health.  117th Cong. 1st Sess (2021).

The Veterans Health Administration is a large complex system that faces various challenges to safe care provision. At this hearing, government administrators testified on current gaps that detract from safe care in the Veteran’s health system. The experts discussed several high-profile misconduct and systemic failure incidents, suggested that the culture and leadership within the system overall enables latency of issues, and outlined actions being taken to address weaknesses.

Manchester, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; October 2021.

This report examines a premature infant death associated with failings of antibiotic administration, deterioration recognition and action on family concerns both during treatment and post-incident. The report issues a series of recommendations building on standard remediation guidance in the United Kingdom.

National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health. Manchester, UK: University of Manchester; May 31, 2021

System failures require multifactorial assessment to install targeted improvements. This toolkit examines 10 areas of focus for organizations to assess the safety of mental health services in emergent and primary care settings to minimize patient suicide and self-harm. Areas of focus include post-discharge follow-up, admissions, and family engagement.

Uhl S, Siddique SM, McKeever L, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; October 2021.  AHRQ Publication No. 21(22)-EHC035.

Patient malnutrition is an underrecognized threat to patient safety. This report provides a comprehensive evidence analysis on the patient malnutrition literature, the relationship of in-hospital malnutrition to patient harm across patient groups and tactics for measurement of the problem to design and assess the impact of interventions.

NHSX, NHS Digital, NHS England, et al. London, England: Crown Copyright; September 2021.

Digital clinical technologies hold promise for care improvement while contributing to potential failures due to the lack of collective guidance to assess and measure if they are safe. This document provides background on digital safety. It shares an approach that aligns with the United Kingdom system safety strategy to situate its priorities and support the strategy.

MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; October 12, 2021.

This announcement highlights the possibility of medication administration inaccuracy due to design characteristics of a low dose tip (LDT) syringe. Recommended cleaning methods and other actions for patients, families and clinicians are provided to protect dose precision when using these syringes.
Drug Enforcement Administration. October 23, 2021.
Removing unused medications from the home can help prevent accidental exposure to unneeded medications and limit their availability for misuse. This annual program provides patients with an opportunity to discard medications safely. The sponsors also provide education to highlight the importance of appropriate disposal of unused prescription drugs as a medication safety activity.