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Brown A, Cavell G, Dogra N, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2022;164:104780.
Alert fatigue and subsequent overrides are known contributors to preventable adverse events particularly for high-risk drug-drug interactions. Researchers assessed prescribers’ actions following an alert for new prescriptions of Low Molecular Weight Heparins (LMWHs) to patients currently prescribed Direct Acting Anticoagulants (DOACs). More than half of the alerts were overridden but were appropriate and justified in most cases.
Braun EJ, Singh S, Penlesky AC, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Apr 15.
Early warning systems (EWS) use patient data from the electronic health record to alert clinicians to potential patient deterioration. Twelve months after a new EWS was implemented in one hospital, nurses were interviewed to gather their perspectives on the program experience, utility, and implementation. Six themes emerged: timeliness, lack of accuracy, workflow interruptions, actionability of alerts, underappreciation of core nursing skills, and opportunity cost.
Wang L, Goh KH, Yeow A, et al. J Med Internet Res. 2022;24:e23355.
Alert fatigue is an increasingly recognized patient safety concern. This retrospective study examined the association between habit and dismissal of indwelling catheter alerts among physicians at one hospital in Singapore. Findings indicate that physicians dismissed 92% of all alerts and that 73% of alerts were dismissed in 3 seconds or less. The study also concluded that a physician’s prior dismissal of alerts increases the likelihood of dismissing future alerts (habitual dismissal), raising concerns that physicians may be missing important alerts.
Bernstein SL, Catchpole K, Kelechi TJ, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:309-318.
Maternal morbidity and mortality continues to be a significant patient safety problem. This mixed-methods study identified system-level factors affecting registered nurses during care of people in labor experiencing clinical deterioration. Task overload, missing or inadequate tools and technology, and a crowded physical environment were all identified as performance obstacles. Improving nurse workload and involving nurses in the redesign of tools and technology could provide a meaningful way to reduce maternal morbidity.
Van De Sijpe G, Quintens C, Walgraeve K, et al. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2022;22:48.
Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) can help identify potential drug-drug interactions (DDI), but they can lead to alert fatigue and threaten patient safety. Based on an analysis of DDI alerts and survey data regarding physician experience using the DDI module in the CDSS, researchers identified barriers (i.e., lack of patient-specific characteristics and DDI-specific screening intervals) that contribute to false-positive alerts and alert fatigue.
Reese T, Wright A, Liu S, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:1086-1095.
Computerized decision support alerts for drug-drug interactions are commonly overridden by clinicians. This study examined fifteen well-known drug-drug interactions and identified risk factors that could reduce risk in the majority of interactions (e.g., medication order timing, medication dose, and patient factors).

Errors in medication management and administration are major threats to patient safety. This piece explores issues with opioid and nursing-sensitive medication safety as well as medication safety in older adults. Future research directions in medication safety are also discussed.

A 32-year-old pregnant woman presented with prelabor rupture of membranes at 37 weeks’ gestation. During labor, the fetal heart rate dropped suddenly and the obstetric provider diagnosed umbilical cord prolapse and called for an emergency cesarean delivery. Uterine atony was noted after delivery of the placenta, which quickly responded to oxytocin bolus and uterine massage.

Orenstein EW, Kandaswamy S, Muthu N, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:2654-2660.
Alert fatigue is a known contributor to medical error. In this cross-sectional study, researchers found that custom alerts were responsible for the majority of alert burden at six pediatric health systems. This study also compared the use of different alert burden metrics to benchmark burden across and within institutions.
Winters BD, Slota JM, Bilimoria KY. JAMA. 2021;326:1207.
Alarm fatigue is a pervasive contributor to distractions and error. This discussion examines how, while minimizing nuisance alarms is important, those efforts need to be accompanied by safety culture enhancements to realize lasting progress toward alarm reduction.
Patterson ES, Rayo MF, Edworthy JR, et al. Hum Factors. 2022;64:126-142.
Alarm fatigue can lead to distraction and diminish safe care. Based on findings from their Patient Safety Learning Laboratory, the authors used human factors engineering to develop a classification system to organize, prioritize, and discriminate alarm sounds in order to reduce nurse response times.
Reece JC, Neal EFG, Nguyen P, et al. BMC Cancer. 2021;21:373.
Lack of timely follow-up of test results is an ongoing patient safety problem in primary care and can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. This systematic review concluded that follow-up of abnormal mammograms in primary care is suboptimal. Findings from included studies indicate that ethnic minorities and women with lower educational attainment were more likely to have inadequate follow-up. Factors influencing follow-up include physician-patient miscommunication, alert fatigue, difficulty obtaining test results or patient records, and logistical barriers. The authors suggest adopting interventions focused on mitigating factors that negatively impact follow-up, such as patient navigation and case management.
Cerqueira O, Gill M, Swar B, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:1038-1046.
Computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) systems embedded in electronic health systems alert clinicians to potential safety concerns such as drug-drug interactions or medication dosage errors. Results of this review indicate that alerts influenced prescriber behavior in most of the included studies. However, it is unclear whether these behavioral changes improve patient safety outcomes. Recommendations for future research include randomized controlled trials to determine which alerts maximize patient safety, while minimizing prescribers’ alert fatigue.
Sedlár M. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2022;28:1281-1290.
Stress and fatigue experienced by healthcare workers can threaten patient safety. This survey of 131 emergency medical services (EMS) crew members identified a relationship between work-related factors (e.g., stress, fatigue), unsafe behavior, and safety incident involvement. Reducing stress and fatigue and improving cognitive skills, including situation awareness, can improve compliance with safe behaviors.
Co Z, Holmgren AJ, Classen DC, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2021;12:153-163.
Medication errors occur frequently in ambulatory care settings. This article describes the development and testing of an ambulatory medication safety evaluation tool, which is based on an inpatient version administered by The Leapfrog Group. Pilot testing at seven clinics around the US indicates that clinics struggled in areas of advanced decision support such as drug age and drug monitoring, and that most clinics lacked EHR-based medication reconciliation functions.

Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety. Plymouth Meeting, PA: ECRI Institute; 2021.

Alert fatigue is a recognized contributor to task burden and medical error. This report distilled monitoring, analysis, and optimization experiences to recommend strategies for improving the effectiveness of clinical audible alerts which includes the development of an overarching clinical decision support governance plan.