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Institute for Safe Medication Practices

The perioperative setting is a high-risk area for medication errors, should they occur. This assessment provides hospitals and outpatient surgical providers a tool to examine their medication use processes and share data nationwide for comparison. Organizational participation can identify strengths and gaps in their systems to design opportunities that prevent patient harm. The deadline for submitting data is February 11, 2022.
Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.
Diagnostic error is garnering increased attention as a key area of focus in patient safety improvement. This fellowship program for physicians who have completed their residency will provide the opportunity to build expertise in enhancing diagnostic safety. The application process for the 2022-2023 program closes on March 8. 2022.
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.
Eiding H, Røise O, Kongsgaard UE. J Patient Saf. 2022;18(1):e315-e319.
Reporting patient safety incidents is essential to improving patient safety. This study compared the number of self-reported (to the study team) safety incidents during interhospital transport and the number of incidents submitted to the hospital’s reporting system. Nearly half of all patient transports had at least one self-reported incident; however, only 1% of incidents were reported to the hospital’s electronic reporting system.
Höcherl A, Lüttel D, Schütze D, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18(1):e85-e91.
Critical incident reporting systems (CIRS) are used to improve learning and patient safety. The aim of this study was to support future implementation of CIRS in primary care by discussing types of incidents that should be reported; who can report incidents (e.g., nurses, physicians, patients); whether reporting is mandatory or voluntary or both depending on incident severity; local versus central analysis; barriers and methods to overcome them; and motivation for reporting.

Bryant A. UpToDate. September 13, 2021.

Implicit bias is progressively being discussed as a detractor to safe health care by fostering racial and ethnic inequities. This review examines the history of health inequities at the patient, provider, health care system, and cultural levels in obstetric and gynecologic care. It shares actions documented in the evidence base for application in health care to reduce the impact of implicit bias, with an eye toward maternal care
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.
Marr R, Goyal A, Quinn M, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21(1):1330.
Many hospitals are implementing programs to support clinicians involved in adverse events (‘second victims’). Researchers interviewed 12 representatives of second victim programs in the United States about the experiences of their programs. The article discusses representative feedback regarding the importance of identifying a need for second victim programs and services, perceived challenges to program success, structural changes after program implementation, and insights for success.   
Saliba R, Karam-Sarkis D, Zahar J-R, et al. J Hosp Infect. 2022;119:54-63.
Patient isolation for infection prevention and control may result in unintended consequences. This systematic review examined adverse physical and psychosocial events associated with patient isolation. A meta-analysis of seven observational studies showed no adverse events related to clinical care or patient experience with isolation.
Lyndon A, Simpson KR, Spetz J, et al. Appl Nurs Res. 2022;63:151516.
Missed nursing care appears to be associated with higher rates of adverse events. More than 3,600 registered nurses (RNs) were surveyed about missed care during labor and birth in the United States. Three aspects of nursing care were reported missing by respondents: thorough review of prenatal records, missed timely documentation of maternal-fetal assessments, and failure to monitor input and output.

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.
Dixon-Woods M, Aveling EL, Campbell A, et al. J Health Serv Res Policy. 2022;Epub Jan 3.
A key aspect of patient safety culture is the perception that all team members should speak up about safety concerns. In this study of 165 frontline and senior leader participants, deciding to report a safety event (referred to as a “voiceable concern”) is influenced by four factors: certainty that something is wrong and is an occasion for voice; system versus conduct concerns, forgivability, and normalization. Organizational culture and context effect whether an incident is considered a voiceable concern.
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.

Croke L. Guideline for prevention of unintentionally retained surgical items. AORN J. 2021;114(6):4-6. doi: 

Retained surgical items (RSI) are a never event, yet they continue to happen. This commentary summarizes recent changes to an existing guidance that defines a range of retained devices or products to coalesce with industry terminology. The author shares steps to reduce the potential for RSI retention. A related webinar will be held February 2, 2022.
Hammond Mobilio M, Paradis E, Moulton C-A. Am J Surg. 2021;Epub Nov 24.
Surgical safety checklists (SSC) have been adopted around the world, but reported compliance rates and use in practice vary widely. This study in one Canadian hospital showed the SSC was used in 82% of Briefings, 76% of Time-Outs, and 22% of Debriefings. Gaps between policy and practice were identified and implications for policy makers, administrators, frontline clinicians, and researchers are discussed.
Sosa T, Mayer B, Chakkalakkal B, et al. Hosp Pediatr. 2022;12(1):37-46.
Many medications and medical devices can result in preventable harm in pediatric patients. This article describes one hospital’s efforts to implement explicit, structured processes and huddles to increase situational awareness regarding high-risk therapies among the care team and family members. After implementation, the percentage of electronic health record (EHR) alerts correctly describing high-risk therapies increased from 11% to 96%.
Malahias M-A, Antoniadou T, Jang SJ, et al. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2021;29(24):e1387-e1395.
Previous research has raised concerns about safety risks associated with overlapping surgery, defined as two procedures performed concurrently, but where critical surgical portions of each procedure occur at different times. Based on a meta-analysis of six articles, the authors of this systematic review found that rates of surgical complications readmissions were similar among overlapping and nonoverlapping surgery in patients undergoing total joint arthroscopy.
FitzGerald C, Hurst S. BMC Med Ethics. 2017;18(1):19.
Healthcare provider implicit bias can lead to inequitable care delivery and poor patient outcomes. This review identified 42 articles about healthcare professional implicit biases, including gender, race, ethnicity, and age. Biases were detected in provider attitudes, treatment decisions, and diagnosis.

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.