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Vaughan CP, Hwang U, Vandenberg AE, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10(4):e001369.
Prescribing potentially inappropriate medications (such as antihistamines, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxants) can lead to adverse health outcomes. The Enhancing Quality of Prescribing Practices for Older Adults in the Emergency Department (EQUIPPED) program is a multicomponent intervention intended to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing among older adults who are discharged from the emergency department. Twelve months after implementation at three academic health systems, the EQUIPPED program significantly reduced overall potentially inappropriate prescribing at one site; the proportion of benzodiazepine prescriptions decreased across all sites.
Brush JE, Sherbino J, Norman GR. BMJ. 2022;Epub Jan 7.
Misdiagnosis of heart failure can lead to serious patient harm. This article reviews the cognitive psychology of diagnostic reasoning in cardiology. Strategies for educators, students, and researchers to reduce cardiovascular misdiagnosis are presented.

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.
Mekonnen AB, Redley B, Courten B, et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021;87(11):4150-4172.
Potentially inappropriate prescribing in older adults can result in medication-related harm. This systematic review of 63 studies found that potentially inappropriate prescribing was significantly associated with several system-related and health-related outcomes for older adults, including mortality, readmissions, adverse drug events, and functional decline.

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.

Gandhi TK. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48(1):61-64.
Families and caregivers play an important role in ensuring patient safety. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and, to a lesser extent, during surges, family and caregiver visitation was severely restricted. This commentary advocates reassessing risks and benefits of restricted visitation, both during the pandemic and beyond.
De Angulo NR, Penwill N, Pathak PR, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2021;Epub Dec 24.
This study explored administrator, physician, nurse, and caregiver perceptions of safety in pediatric inpatient care during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants reported changes in workflows, discharge and transfer process, patient and family engagement, and hospital operations.
Montero-Odasso MM, Kamkar N, Pieruccini-Faria F, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(12):e2138911.
Fall prevention in healthcare settings is a patient safety priority. This systematic review found that most clinical practice guidelines provide consistent recommendations for fall prevention for older adults. Guidelines consistently recommend strategies such as risk stratification, medication review, and environment modification.
Mazor KM, Kamineni A, Roblin DW, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):e1278-e1284.
Patient engagement and encouraging speaking up can promote safety. This randomized study found that patients undergoing cancer treatment who were randomized to an active outreach program were significantly more likely to speak up and report healthcare concerns than patients in the control group.
Neves AL, van Dael J, O’Brien N, et al. J Telemed Telecare. 2021;Epub Dec 12.
This survey of individuals living in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, and Germany identified an increased use of virtual primary care services – such as telephone or video consultation, remote triage, and secure messaging systems – since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents reported that virtual technologies positively impacted multiple dimensions of care quality, including timeliness, safety, patient-centeredness, and equity.
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.
Fontil V, Pacca L, Bellows BK, et al. JAMA Cardiol. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Racial and ethnic inequities are increasingly being linked to health disparities. This study of more than 16,000 patients explored the association between race and ethnicity and blood pressure control. Findings suggest racial and ethnic inequities in treatment intensification may be associated with more than 20% of observed racial or ethnic disparities in blood pressure control.
Anand TV, Wallace BK, Chase HS. BMC Geriatr. 2021;21(1):648.
Older adults, particularly those taking more than one medication, are at increased risk of adverse drug events (ADE). In this study of 6,545 older adult patients who were prescribed at least 3 medications, multidrug interactions (MDI) were identified in 1.3% of medication lists. Psychotropic medications were the most commonly involved medication class; the most common serious ADE were serotonin syndrome, seizures, prolonged QT interval, and bleeding.
Weber L, Schulze I, Jaehde U. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2021;Epub Nov 18.
Chemotherapy administration errors can result in serious patient harm. Using failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), researchers identified potential failures related to the medication process for intravenous chemotherapy. Common failures included incorrect patient information, non-standardized chemotherapy protocols, and problems related to supportive therapy.

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.

Gebeloff R, Thomas K, Silver-Greenberg J. New York TimesDecember 9, 2021.

Nursing homes harbor numerous challenges to patient safety and they should be transparently reported and acted upon to ensure improvement. This news investigation discusses a gap in the reporting and inspection of nursing home incidents that undermines the ability of the US nursing home rating system to inform consumer long term care facility choice.
Shen L, Levie A, Singh H, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;Epub Oct 29.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges associated with diagnostic error. This study used natural language processing to identify and categorize diagnostic errors occurring during the pandemic. The study compared a review of all patient safety reports explicitly mentioning COVID-19, and using natural language processing, identified additional safety reports involving COVID-19 diagnostic errors and delays. This innovative approach may be useful for organizations wanting to identify emerging risks, including safety concerns related to COVID-19.