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Hofer IS, Cheng D, Grogan T. Anesth Analg. 2021;133(3):698-706.
Anesthesia-related adverse events have been associated with increased length of stay, morbidity and mortality. This study investigated the effect of missed documentation of select comorbidities on postoperative length of stay and mortality. Results indicate that missed documentation of one of the comorbid conditions increased risk of length of stay, and mortality was increased with missed atrial fibrillation.
Abraham P, Augey L, Duclos A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(7):e615-e621.
Patient misidentification errors are common and potentially catastrophic. Patient identification incidents reported in one hospital were examined to identify errors and contributory factors. Of the 293 reported incidents, the most common errors were missing wristbands, wrong charts or notes in files, administrative issues, and wrong labeling. The most frequent contributory factors include absence of patient identity control, patient transfer, and emergency context.
Huynh I, Rajendran T. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10(3):e001363.
Unintentional therapeutic duplication can lead to life-threatening complications. As part of a quality improvement project on a surgical ward, staff were educated about the risks of therapeutic duplication and strategies to decrease it. After one month of education and reminders, the rate of therapeutic duplication decreased by more than half.
US Food and Drug Administration. October 7, 2021.
Errors of commission during complex procedures can contribute to patient harm. Drawing from an analysis of medical device reports submitted to the Food and Drug Administration, this updated announcement seeks to raise awareness of common adverse events associated with surgical staplers and implantable staples. User-related problems include opening of the staple line, misapplied staples, and staple gun difficulties. Recommendations include ensuring availability of various staple sizes and avoiding use of staples on large blood vessels.
Liu LQ, Mehigan S. AORN J. 2021;114(2):159-170.
Surgical safety checklists (SSC) have been shown to improve outcomes, but effective implementation remains a challenge. This systematic review evaluated the effectiveness of interventions to increase compliance with the World Health Organization’s SSC for adult surgery. Interventions generally fell into one of four categories: modifying the method of SSC delivery, integrating or tailoring the tool for local context, promoting awareness and engagement, and managing organizational policy. Study findings suggest that all approaches resulted in some improvement in compliance.
Ranum D, Beverly A, Shapiro FE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(7):513-521.
This analysis of medical malpractice claims identified four leading causes of anesthesia-related claims involving ambulatory surgery centers – dental injuries, pain, nerve damage, and death. The authors discuss the role of preoperative risk assessment, use of routine dental and airway assessment, adequate treatment of perioperative pain, and improving communication between patients and providers.
Sood N, Lee RE, To JK, et al. Birth. 2021;Epub Sep 8.
Cesarean delivery can contribute to increased maternal morbidity. This retrospective study found that the introduction of a hospital-wide perioperative bundle significantly reduced surgical site infection rates. The perioperative bundle consisted of five elements (1) an antibiotic protocol, (2) preoperative warming and intraoperative maintenance of normal temperature, (3) standardized surgical preparation for each patient, (4) use of standardized fascial closure trays, and (5) standardized intraoperative application of wound dressing. 
Morbidity and mortality (M&M) conferences are standard components of medical training programs yet medical residents underutilize incident reporting systems that feed into M&M conferences. To encourage incident reporting among residents, the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center launched a web-based, real-time complication reporting platform to capture complications.
Arntson E, Dimick JB, Nuliyalu U, et al. Ann Surg. 2021;274(4):e301-e307.
Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) are thought to be preventable, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reduce payments to hospitals with the highest rates of these conditions through its Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HACRP). This study evaluated surgical HACs at three timepoints: before Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, after ACA implementation, and after HACRP. While the number of HACs continued to decline after implementation of HACRP, it did not affect 30-day mortality.
Ellis R, Hardie JA, Summerton DJ, et al. Surg. 2021;59(7):752-756.
Many non-urgent, non-cancer surgeries were postponed or canceled during COVID-19 surges resulting in a potential loss of surgeons’ “currency”. This commentary discusses the benefits of, and barriers to, dual surgeon operating as a way to increase currency as elective surgeries are resumed.
Boquet A, Cohen T, Diljohn F, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(6):e534-e539.
This study classified flow disruptions affecting the anesthesia team during cardiothoracic surgeries. Disruptions were classified into one of six human factors categories: communication, coordination, equipment issues, interruptions, layout, and usability. Interruptions accounted for nearly 40% of disruptions (e.g., events related to alerts, distractions, searching activity, spilling/dropping, teaching moment).
Sidi A, Gravenstein N, Vasilopoulos T, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(6):e490-e496.
Nontechnical skills, such as teamwork and communication, can influence performance in technical fields like surgery or emergency medicine. This study found that simulation-based assessments can measure improvements in nontechnical skills and cognitive performance among residents.
Combs CA, Einerson BD, Toner LE. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021;Epub Jul 30.
Maternal and newborn safety is challenged during cesarean delivery due to the complexities of the practice. This guideline recommends specific checklist elements to direct coordination and communication between the two teams engaged in cesarean deliveries. The guideline provides a sample checklist and steps for its implementation.
D'Angelo JD, Lund S, Busch RA, et al. Surgery. 2021;170(2):440-445.
This study evaluated the type and effectiveness of resident and faculty coping strategies following an intraoperative error and the interaction with physician gender. Results show that while men and women surgeons experience adverse events at approximately the same rate, the coping methods utilized and effectiveness of the methods varied.
Pring ET, Malietzis G, Kendall SWH, et al. Int J Surg. 2021;91:105987.
This literature review summarizes approaches to crisis management used by non-healthcare institutions (e.g., private businesses, large military organizations) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how healthcare organizations – particularly the surgical community – can leverage these approaches in operational planning and crisis management.
Cohen JB, Patel SY. Anesth Analg. 2021;133(3):816-820.
Designated safety leadership roles are situated to direct and sustain organizational safety progress. This commentary describes an anesthesiology safety officer function and how it is positioned to motivate staff safety behaviors and support engagement during project challenges.
Nasca BJ, Bilimoria KY, Yang AD. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47(9):604-607.
Surgical safety has made advances while new difficulties continuously emerge. This article suggests that the specialties capitalize on artificial intelligence and professional wellness as two avenues to generate sustainable safety progress.
Chua K-P, Brummett CM, Conti RM, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;Epub Aug 16.
Despite public policies and guidelines to reduce opioid prescribing, providers continue to overprescribe these medications to children, adolescents, and young adults. In this analysis of US retail pharmacy data, 3.5% of US children and young adults were dispensed at least one opioid prescription; nearly half of those included at least one factor indicating they were high risk. Consistent with prior research, dentists and surgeons were the most frequent prescribers, writing 61% of all opiate prescriptions.
Douglas RN, Stephens LS, Posner KL, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2021;127(3):470-478.
Effective communication among providers helps ensure patient safety. Through analysis of perioperative malpractice claims using the Anesthesia Closed Claims Project database, researchers found that communication failures contributed to 43% of total claims, with the majority between the anesthesiologist/anesthesia team and the surgeon/surgery team. Methods to improve perioperative communication are discussed.
Speaks L, Helmer SD, Quinn KR, et al. J Surg Educ. 2021;Epub Aug 4.
Balancing resident autonomy and supervision is an ongoing challenge in medical training. The authors reviewed patient data to identify adverse outcomes (e.g., complications, readmissions, reoperation, mortality) undergoing common general surgery procedures performed by, or indirectly supervised by, attending surgeons or the chief resident service. Findings suggest that indirect supervision of appendectomies, cholecystectomies, and hernia repairs by the chief resident surgery service is safe and can serve as a model to enhance resident autonomy during training.