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Woods-Hill CZ, Colantuoni EA, Koontz DW, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2022;Epub May 2.
Stewardship interventions seek to optimize use of healthcare services, such as diagnostic tests or antibiotics. This article reports findings from a 14-site multidisciplinary collaborative evaluating pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) blood culture practices before and after implementation of a diagnostic stewardship intervention. Researchers found that rates of blood cultures, broad-spectrum antibiotic use, and central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI) were reduced postintervention.

Molefe A, Hung L, Hayes K, et al. Rockville MD: Agency for healthcare Research and Quality; 2022. AHRQ Publication No. 17(22)-0019.

Central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are a persistent challenge for health care safety. This report shares the results of a 6-cohort initiative to reduce CLABSI and/or CAUTI infection rates in adult critical care. Recommendations for collaborative implementation success are included.
Trbovich PL, Tomasi JN, Kolodzey L, et al. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2022;23:151-159.
Intensive care units (ICU) are high-risk environments. Based on direct observations, these researchers identified 226 latent safety threats affecting routine care activities in pediatric ICUs. Findings indicate that threats persist regardless of whether individuals comply with or deviate from policies and protocols, suggesting the need for targeted interventions beyond reinforcing compliance.
MacLeod JB, D’Souza K, Aguiar C, et al. J Cardiothorac Surg. 2022;17:69.
Post-operative complications can lead to increased length of hospital stay, cost, and resource utilization. This retrospective study compared “fast track” patients (patients extubated and transferred from ICU to a step-down unit the same day as their procedure) and patients who were not fast tracked. Results showed fast track pathways led to a reduction in ICU and overall hospital length of stay and similar post-operative outcomes.
Ulmer FF, Lutz AM, Müller F, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e573-e579.
Closed-loop communication is essential to effective teamwork, particularly during complex or high-intensity clinical scenarios. This study found that participation in a one-day simulation team training for pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurses led to significant improvements in closed-loop communication in real-life clinical situations.
Acorda DE, Bracken J, Abela K, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:196-204.
Rapid response (RR) systems are used to improve clinical outcomes and prevent transfer to ICU of patients demonstrating signs of rapid deterioration. To evaluate its RR system, one hospital’s pediatric department reviewed all REACT (Rapid Escalation After Critical Transfer) events (i.e., cardiopulmonary arrest and/or ventilation and/or hemodynamic support) which occurred within 24 hours of the RR. These reviews identified opportunities for systemwide improvements. 

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; April 2022.

Healthcare-associated infections can result in significant morbidity and mortality. Developed by AHRQ, this customizable, educational toolkit uses the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) and other evidence-based practices to provide clinical and cultural guidance to support practice changes to prevent and reduce central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates in intensive care units (ICUs). Sections of the kit include items such an action plan template, implementation playbook, and team interaction aids.
Lohmeyer Q, Schiess C, Wendel Garcia PD, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 8.
Tall Man lettering (TML) is a recommended strategy to reduce look-alike or sound-alike medication errors. This simulation study used eye tracking to investigate how of ‘tall man lettering’ impacts medication administration tasks. The researchers found that TML of prelabeled syringes led to a significant decrease in misidentified syringes and improved visual attention.
Olsen SL, Søreide E, Hansen BS. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Apr 4.
Rapid response systems (RRS) are widely used to identify signs of rapid deterioration among hospitalized patients.  Using in situ simulation, researchers identified obstacles to effective RRS execution, including inconsistent education and documentation, lack of interpersonal trust, and low psychological safety.
Yale S, Cohen S, Bordini BJ. Crit Care Clin. 2022;38:185-194.
A broad differential diagnosis can limit missed diagnostic opportunities. This article outlines how diagnostic timeouts, which are intended reduce bias during the identification of differential diagnoses, can improve diagnosis and reduce errors.
Nether KG, Thomas EJ, Khan A, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2022;44:23-30.
Medical errors in the neonatal intensive care unit threaten patient safety. This children’s hospital implemented a robust process improvement program (RPI, which refers to widespread dissemination of process improvement tools to support staff skill development and identify sustainable improvements) to reduce harm in the neonatal intensive care unit. The program resulted in significant and sustainable improvements to staff confidence and knowledge related to RPI tools. It also contributed to improvements in health outcomes, including healthcare-acquired infection.
Howlett O, Gleeson R, Jackson L, et al. JBI Evid Synth. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Rapid response teams are designed to provide emergency medical support to deteriorating hospitalized patients. This review examines the role of a family support person (FSP) as part of the rapid response team. The FSP supported the family during the resuscitation in numerous ways, such as explaining jargon and medical procedures and attending to the practical needs of the family.

An increasing volume of patients presenting for acute care can create a need for more ICU beds and intensivists and lead to longer wait times and boarding of critically ill patients in the emergency department (ED).1 Data suggest that boarding of critically ill patients for more than 6 hours in the emergency department leads to poorer outcomes and increased mortality.2,3 To address this issue, University of Michigan Health, part of Michigan Medicine, developed an ED-based ICU, the first of its kind, in its 1,000-bed adult hospital. The University of Michigan Emergency Critical Care Center (EC3) opened on February 16, 2015, as a 7,800-square-foot unit with five resuscitation or trauma bays and nine critical care patient rooms immediately adjacent to the main ED.4 The goal of EC3 is to deliver early, aggressive, evidence-based critical care to the most acutely ill and injured patients arriving to the ED.

Prior to opening EC3, all ED patients requiring ongoing critical care were evaluated and treated by the ED team in resuscitation bays or regular ED rooms until an inpatient ICU bed became available or the patient no longer required critical care and was admitted to a non-ICU level of care.

Studies of the EC3 initiative have found promising outcomes, including modest but significant decreases in mortality (14.1% reduction in adjusted 30-day mortality for ED patients in the post-EC3 cohort; number needed to treat [NNT]=220 patients to reduce 1 death at 30 days),5 reduced ICU utilization (12.9% reduction in the post-EC3 cohort; NNT=179 patients to reduce 1 ICU admission), quicker patient turnover, and shorter hospital stays.5,6

The EC3 care team is comprised of emergency medicine (EM) physicians (with or without critical care fellowship training), house staff (primarily EM residents and critical care fellows), physician assistants (with critical care training), ED nurses (with additional ICU training), respiratory therapists, and pharmacists. The patient-to-nurse ratio is the same as most traditional inpatient ICUs at 2:1.7 EC3 has treated over 16,000 patients to date.

For this type of innovation to ultimately be successful, EC3 leadership recommend that care be evidenced-based and protocol-driven, yet the care team remain flexible and nimble enough to adapt to the constantly changing conditions inherent within the world of emergency medicine. Further, EC3 leadership emphasize that all care providers need to remain well-versed in the knowledge and skillsets needed to provide both EM-centric resuscitation and stabilization as well as the early and continuing critical care knowledge and skillsets more traditionally found in inpatient ICUs. Obtaining these knowledge and skills requires the innovating organization to provide continual training and evaluation and feedback to the care team. Additionally, since the initiative requires significant resources, it is important to keep thorough data pre- and post-implementation to demonstrate impact on patient-centric outcomes.

Cantor N, Durr KM, McNeill K, et al. J Intensive Care Med. 2022;Epub Mar 3.
Adverse events (AE) may lead to poor patient outcomes as well as increased financial costs. An analysis of more than 17,000 adult intensive care unit patients showed approximately 35% experienced at least one healthcare associated adverse event. Those patients had significantly longer hospital stays, experienced higher rates of in-hospital mortality, and required more invasive intensive care unit (ICU) interventions. Additionally, the total cost of the hospital stay was significantly higher, mostly due to increased length of stay.
Vollam S, Gustafson O, Morgan L, et al. Crit Care Med. 2022;Epub Mar 7.
This mixed-method study explored the reasons why out-of-hours discharges from the ICU to the ward, and nighttime coverage are associated with poor outcomes. Based on qualitative interviews with patients, family members, and staff involved in the ICU discharge process, this study found that out-of-hours discharges are considered unsafe due to nighttime staffing levels and skill mix. Out-of-hours discharges often occurred prematurely, without adequate handovers, and involved patients who were not physiologically stable, and at risk for clinical deterioration.
Hamad DM, Mandell SP, Stewart RM, et al. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;92:473-480.
By analyzing errors that lead to preventable or potentially preventable deaths in trauma care, healthcare organizations can develop mitigation strategies to prevent those errors from reoccurring. This study classified events anonymously reported by trauma centers using the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations Patient Safety Event Taxonomy. Mitigation strategies were most often low-level, person-focused (e.g., education and training).
Mahomedradja RF, van den Beukel TO, van den Bos M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2022;22:35.
The potential for medication errors may increase due to redeployment and reorganization of hospital resources during COVID-19 surges. In this study of patients hospitalized during the first wave of the pandemic, over 90% had at least one prescribing error three months after hospitalization. Intensive care unit admission and a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma were risk factors for prescribing errors. Acknowledging and understanding these risk factors allows hospital leadership to target interventions for this population.
Shafer GJ, Singh H, Thomas EJ, et al. J Perinatol. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at risk for serious patient safety threats. In this retrospective review of 600 consecutive inborn NICU admissions, researchers found that the frequency of diagnostic errors among inborn NICU patients during the first seven days of admission was 6.2%.