The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Barrett AK, Sandbrink F, Mardian A, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:4037-4046.
Opioid medication use is associated with an increased risk of adverse events; however research has shown sudden discontinuation of opioids is also associated with adverse events such as withdrawal and hospitalization. This before and after study evaluated the impact of the VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) on characteristics and prescribing practices. Results indicate that length of tapering period increased, and mortality risk decreased following OSI implementation.
Doctor JN, Stewart E, Lev R, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6:e2249877.
Research has shown that prescribers who are notified of a patient’s fatal opioid overdose will decrease milligram morphine equivalents (MME) up to 3 months following notification as compared to prescribers who are not notified. This article reports on the same cohort’s prescribing behavior at 4-12 months. Among prescribers who received notification, total weekly MME continued to decrease more than the control group during the 4-12 month period.
Balshi AN, Al-Odat MA, Alharthy AM, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0277992.
Many hospitals have implemented rapid response teams (RRT) that are activated when a patient starts exhibiting prespecified criteria to prevent adverse outcomes. This before and after study compared nurse-activated RRT and automated activation. Non-invasive bedside sensors monitored patients’ vital signs and automatically sent alerts to the RRT based on prespecified clinical signs. Compared to the before period, there were lower rates of CPR, higher rates of successful CPR, shorter lengths of stay, and lower hospital mortality.
Carlile N, Fuller TE, Benneyan JC, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e1142-e1149.
The opioid epidemic has prompted national and institutional guidelines for safe opioid prescribing. This paper describes the development, implementation, and sustainment of a toolkit for safer opioid prescribing for chronic pain in primary care. The authors describe organizational, technical, and external barriers to implementation along with attempted solutions and their effects. The toolkit is available as supplemental material.
Krvavac S, Jansson B, Bukholm IRK, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:10686.
Inpatient suicide is sentinel event. This study examined treatment patterns among patients undergoing inpatient or outpatient psychiatric treatment who died by suicide. The research team found that patients who were primarily treated with medications were less likely to be sufficiently monitored, whereas patients who received both psychotherapy and medication were more likely to receive inadequate treatment.
Mohanna Z, Kusljic S, Jarden R. Aust Crit Care. 2022;35:466-479.
Many types of interventions, such as education, technology, and simulations, have been used to reduce medication errors in the intensive care setting. This review identified 11 studies representing six intervention types; three of the six types showed improvement (prefilled syringe, nurses’ education program, and the protocolized program logic form) while the other three demonstrated mixed results.
Fenton JJ, Magnan E, Tseregounis IE, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2216726.
Adverse events associated with long-term opioid therapy have led to recommendations for dose tapering for patients with chronic pain. This study assessed the long-term risks of overdose and mental health crisis as a result of dose tapering. Consistent with earlier research on short-term risks, results indicate that opioid tapering is associated with increased risk of adverse events up to 24 months after initiation of tapering.
Virnes R-E, Tiihonen M, Karttunen N, et al. Drugs Aging. 2022;39:199-207.
Preventing falls is an ongoing patient safety priority. This article summarizes the relationship between prescription opioids and risk of falls among older adults, and provides recommendations around opioid prescribing and deprescribing.
Halverson CC, Scott Tilley D. Nurs Forum. 2022;57:454-460.
Nursing surveillance is an intervention for maintaining patient safety and preventing patient deterioration. This review builds on the earlier nursing surveillance concept to reflect technological advancements, such as early warning systems, since the intervention was first proposed. Attributes (e.g., systematic processes and coordinated communication) and antecedents (e.g., sufficient nurse education and staffing) associated with nursing surveillance are described, along with a presentation of cases to illustrate the concept.
The APSF Committee on Technology. APSF Newsletter. 2022;37(1):7–8.
Variation across standards and processes can result in misunderstandings that disrupt care safety. This guidance applied expert consensus to examine existing anesthesia monitoring standards worldwide. Recommendations are provided for organizations and providers to guide anesthesia practice in a variety of environments to address patient safety issues including accidental patient awareness during surgery.
Watterson TL, Stone JA, Gilson A, et al. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2022;22:50.
The CancelRx system is a health information technology-based intervention intended to mitigate the challenges of communicating medication discontinuation. Using secondary data from the electronic health record (EHR) system of a midwestern academic health system, researchers found that implementing the CancelRx system resulted in a significant increase in successful medication discontinuations for controlled substances.
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...
Koeck JA, Young NJ, Kontny U, et al. Front Pediatr. 2021;9:633064.
Medication safety in children is a patient safety priority. This systematic review explored interventions to reduce medication dispensing, administration, and monitoring errors in pediatric healthcare settings. The majority of identified studies used “administrative controls” to prevent errors, but those implementing higher-level interventions (such as smart pumps and mandatory barcode scanning) were more likely to result in error reduction.
Polypharmacy in older adults is common and may increase risk of medication-related adverse events. This study found that an intervention combining educational training, tailored health information technology, and a therapy check process improved medication appropriateness in nursing home residents.
Hodkinson A, Tyler N, Ashcroft DM, et al. BMC Med. 2020;18:313.
Medication errors represent a significant source of preventable harm. This large meta-analysis, including 81 studies, found that approximately 1 in 30 patients is exposed to preventable medication harm, and more than one-quarter of this harm is considered severe or life-threatening. Preventable medication harm occurred most frequently during medication prescribing and monitoring. The highest rates of preventable medication harm were seen in elderly patient care settings, intensive care, highly specialized or surgical care, and emergency medicine.
A 55-year old woman became unarousable with low oxygen saturation as a result of multiple intravenous benzodiazepine doses given overnight. The benzodiazepine was ordered following a seizure in the intensive care unit (ICU) and was not revised or discontinued upon transfer to the floor; several doses were given for different indications - anxiety and insomnia.
Krukas A, Franklin ES, Bonk C, et al. Patient Safety. 2020;2.
Intravenous vancomycin is an antibiotic with known medication safety risk factors. This assessment is designed to assist organizations to review clinician and organizational knowledge, medication administration activities and health information technology as a risk management strategy to minimize hazards associated with vancomycin use.
ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. January 17, 2019;24:1-6.
This newsletter article reports on the findings of a government investigation into the death of a patient during a positron emission tomography scan. A neuromuscular blocking agent was mistakenly administered instead of an anti-anxiety medication with a similar name. The investigation determined various individual and system failures that contributed to the incident, such as misuse of automated dispensing cabinets, wrong picklist medication selection, workarounds of override protections, and lack of patient monitoring. Recommendations for preventing similar incidents include use of barcoding verification, automated dispensing cabinet stocking changes, and labeling improvements.
Patients with mental health concerns are vulnerable to harm from medication errors. This investigation report describes factors that contributed to the deaths of two psychiatric inpatients and identifies weaknesses in monitoring, polypharmacy review, and off-label medication use as primary concerns.
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