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.
Westbrook JI, Li L, Raban MZ, et al. NPJ Digit Med. 2022;5:179.
Pediatric patients are particularly vulnerable to medication errors. This cluster randomized controlled trial examined the short- and long-term impacts of an electronic medication management (eMM) system implemented at one pediatric referral hospital in Australia. Findings suggest that eMM implementation did not reduce medication errors in the first 70 days of use, but researchers observed a decrease in medication errors one year after implementation, suggesting long-term benefits.
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.
Bell SK, Bourgeois FC, Dong J, et al. Milbank Q. 2022;100:1121-1165.
Patients who access their electronic health record (EHR) through a patient portal have identified clinically relevant errors such as allergies, medications, or diagnostic errors. This study focused on patient-identified diagnostic safety blind spots in ambulatory care clinical notes. The largest category of blind spots was diagnostic misalignment. Many patients indicated they reported the errors to the clinicians, suggesting shared notes may increase patient and family engagement in safety.
Gleeson LL, Clyne B, Barlow JW, et al. Int J Pharm Pract. 2023;30:495-506.
Remote delivery of care, such as telehealth and e-prescribing, increased sharply at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This rapid review was conducted to determine the types and frequency of medication safety incidents associated with remote delivery of primary care prior to the pandemic. Fifteen articles were identified covering medication safety and e-prescribing; none of these studies associated medication safety and telehealth.
Rodgers S, Taylor AC, Roberts SA, et al. PLoS Med. 2022;19:e1004133.
Previous research found that a pharmacist-led information technology intervention (PINCER) reduced dangerous prescribing (i.e., medication monitoring and drug-disease errors) among a subset of primary care practices in the United Kingdom (UK). This longitudinal analysis examined the impact of the PINCER intervention after implementation across a large proportion of general practices in one region in the UK. Researchers found the PINCER intervention decreased dangerous prescribing by 17% and 15% at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups, particularly among dangerous prescribing related to gastrointestinal bleeding.
Erstad BL, Romero AV, Barletta JF. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2023;80:87-91.
Weight-based dosing is vulnerable to error due to inaccurate estimation of body weight, use of metric vs. non-metric units, or patients being underweight or overweight. This commentary suggests strategies for reducing weight- and size-based dosing errors including reduction in reliance on estimated body weight, standardizing descriptor (e.g., body mass index), limiting options in the electronic health record (EHR), and integrating complex calculations into the EHR.
Sheikh A, Coleman JJ, Chuter A, et al. Programme Grants Appl Res. 2022;10:1-196.
Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) is an established medication error reduction mechanism. This review analyzed experiences in the United Kingdom to understand strengths and weaknesses in e-prescribing. The work concluded that e-prescribing did improve safety in the UK and that the implementation and use of the system was a complex endeavor. The effort produced an accompanying toolkit to assist organizations in e-prescribing system decision making.
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.
Varady NH, Worsham CM, Chen AF, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2022;119:e2210226119.
Safe prescribing dictates that prescriptions should only be written for the patients who are intended to use the prescribed medications. Using claims data, this analysis identified a high rate of opioid prescriptions written for and filled by the spouses of patients undergoing outpatient surgery (who may be unable to fill prescriptions themselves after surgery). Findings suggest intentional, clinically inappropriate prescribing of opioids.
Wallerstedt SM, Svensson SA, Lönnbro J, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2236757.
Criteria, such as the Screening Tool of Older Persons' Prescriptions (STOPP)/Screening Tool to Alert to Right Treatment (START) criteria, are tools used by clinicians to identify potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIM) and potential prescribing omissions (PPOs) among older adult patients. In this study, researchers evaluated three PIM/PPO criteria sets and found that all three performed poorly as diagnostic tools to identify inadequate drug treatment in older patients compared to counting the number of drugs on the patient’s medication list.
Tablet-splitting may introduce patient safety risks, such as unpredictable dosing. This systematic review and qualitative synthesis did not identify substantive evidence to support tablet-splitting concerns, with the exception of sustained-release tablets and use by older adults who may struggle to split tablets due to physical limitations.
Johansen JS, Halvorsen KH, Svendsen K, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:1290.
Reducing unplanned hospital readmissions is a priority patient safety focus, and numerous interventions with hospital pharmacists have been developed. In this study, hospitalized adults aged 70 years and older were randomized to receive standard care or the IMMENSE intervention. The IMprove MEdicatioN Safety in the Elderly (IMMENSE) intervention is based on the integrated medicine management (IMM) model and consists of five steps, including medication reconciliation, patient counseling, and communication with the patient’s primary care provider. There was no significant difference in emergency department visits or readmissions between control and intervention within 12 months of the index hospital visit.
Dowell D, Ragan KR, Jones CM, et al. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2022;71:1-95.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines for safe opioid prescribing for chronic pain. Based on an updated evidence review, the CDC has revised the guidelines and released the Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain - United States, 2022, include recommendations for outpatient acute, subacute, and chronic opioid use. The twelve recommendations fall into four broad categories: determining whether or not to initiate opioids for pain; selecting opioids and determining opioid dosages; deciding duration of initial opioid prescription and conducting follow-up; and assessing risk and addressing potential harms of opioid use. The CDC will update and develop tools and resources to support dissemination of these guidelines.
The recommendations do not apply to pain related to sickle cell disease or cancer or to patients receiving palliative or end-of-life care, or for patients in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital.
Iturgoyen Fuentes DP, Meneses Mangas C, Cuervas Mons Vendrell M. Eur J Hosp Pharm. 2022;Epub Sep 30.
Medication reconciliation at hospital admission has reduced medication errors, but less is known about the pediatric population, particularly which patients may benefit most from reconciliation. This retrospective study of pediatric patients who experienced at least one medication reconciliation error found children older than 5 years, taking 4 or more medications, or with neurological or onco-hematological conditions were at increased risk of errors. Prioritization of these populations may improve the effectiveness of medication reconciliation.
Mixed case letters are one suggested strategy to reduce look-alike medication name errors. This survey announcement calls for insight from the field to update an existing resource of problematic drug name pairs and examine the effectiveness of mixed case letter use to minimize confusion. The comment submission period is now closed.
Lauffenburger JC, Coll MD, Kim E, et al. Med Educ. 2022;56:1032-1041.
Medication errors can be common among medical trainees. Using semi-structured qualitative interviews, this study identified factors influencing suboptimal prescribing by medical residents during overnight coverage, including time pressures, perceived pressure and fear of judgement, clinical acuity, and communication issues between care team members.
Shawahna R, Jaber M, Jumaa E, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e1047-e1060.
Medication errors in pediatric anesthesiology are common and largely preventable. This scoping review characterizing medication errors in pediatric anesthesia found that dosing errors were the most common. Recommendations to minimize or prevent medication errors in pediatric anesthesia commonly related to improving medication administration and documentation.
Laing L, Salema N-E, Jeffries M, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0275633.
Previous research found that the pharmacist-led IT-based intervention to reduce clinically important medication errors (PINCER) can reduce prescription and medication monitoring errors. This qualitative study explored patients’ perceived acceptability of the PINCER intervention in primary care. Overall perceptions were positive, but participants noted that PINCER acceptability can be improved through enhanced patient-pharmacist relationships, consistent delivery of PINCER-related care, and synchronization of medication reviews with prescription renewals.
Saini S, Leung V, Si E, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:787-799.
Antimicrobial stewardship is an important element of patient safety. This scoping review explored how antimicrobial indication documentation can impact antibiotic use and clinical outcomes. The authors conclude that this is a growing area of research interest and note that emerging evidence indicates that appropriate antimicrobial indication documentation can improve prescribing and patient outcomes but that larger trials are needed to provide more robust evidence.
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