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Jack Westfall, MD MPH, is a retired professor from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Former Director of the Robert Graham Center. We spoke with him about the role of primary care in the health and well-being of individuals, the hallmarks of high quality primary care and opportunities of primary care providers to enhance or promote patient safety.

Luri M, Gastaminza G, Idoate A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:630-636.
Clinical decision support systems can alert prescribers to potential interactions between the drug being ordered and other drugs or drug allergies. Earlier studies have shown high rates of overrides of drug allergy alerts. This study analyzed allergic adverse drug events that occurred because of overridden drug allergy alerts (ODAA). Less than 10% of ODAA were inappropriate and resulted in only mild adverse events.
… to: Understand the history, epidemiology, cause of latex allergy and the reason that some individuals continue to be … Anaphylactic Reactions During General Anesthesia Among Pediatric Patients -- United States, January 1990 - January … and risk factors of latex sensitization in an unselected pediatric population. J Allergy Clin Immunol . …
Olans RD, Olans RN, Marfatia R, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:552-558.
Inadequate or incorrect documentation of patient allergies can lead to patient harm. This commentary discusses factors contributing to penicillin allergy documentation errors within electronic heath record systems (EHRs) and how EHR alerts can be used to improve safety around penicillin allergies.
Vallamkonda S, Ortega CA, Lo YC, et al. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2022;290:120-124.
… from one hospital’s EHR system, this study reviewed active allergy alerts in patient records and concluded that 37% of those records required reconciliation of allergy information across different areas of the EHR. These … support tools to help clinicians identify potential allergy discrepancies and avoid patient safety risks . … …
Phadke NA, Wickner PG, Wang L, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2022;10:1844-1855.e3.
Patient exposure to allergens healthcare settings, such as latex or certain medications, can lead to adverse outcomes. Based on data from an incident reporting system, researchers in this study developed a system for classifying allergy-related safety events. Classification categories include: (1) incomplete or inaccurate EHR documentation, (2) human factors, such as overridden allergy alerts, (3) alert limitation or malfunction, (4) data exchange and interoperability failures, and (5) issues with EHR system default options. This classification system can be used to support improvements at the individual, team, and systems levels. 

Remle Crowe, PhD, NREMT, is the Director of Clinical and Operational Research at ESO. In her professional role, she provides strategic direction for the research mission of the organization, including oversight of a warehouse research data set of de-identified records (the ESO Data Collaborative). We spoke with her about how data is being used in the prehospital setting to improve patient safety.

Li L, Foer D, Hallisey RK, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e108-e114.
Despite the introduction of computerized provider order entry into electronic health records, providers still frequently use free-text fields to communicate important information which introduces a patient safety risk. One healthcare system searched allergy-related free-text fields, identifying more than 242,000 entries. Approximately 131,000 were manually or automatically remediated (e.g., “latex from back brace” and “gloves” were coded “latex-natural rubber”).

Georgia Galanou Luchen, Pharm. D., is the Director of Member Relations at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). In this role, she leads initiatives related to community pharmacy practitioners and their impact throughout the care continuum. We spoke with her about different types of community pharmacists and the role they play in ensuring patient safety. 

Clinical decision support systems provide information or recommendations to help clinicians make safe and evidence-based decisions. The use and sophistication of these systems have grown markedly over the past decade, due to widespread implementation of electronic health records and advances in clinical informatics.