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Wylie JA, Kong L, Barth RJ. Ann Surg. 2022;276:e192-e198.
“Opioid never event” (ONE) is a proposed classification to describe dependence or overdose among opioid-naïve patients prescribed opioids at hospital discharge. Based on a retrospective review of medical records of patients at one academic medical center, researchers estimated that the ONE affected approximately 2 per 1,000 opioid-naïve surgical patients and persistent opioid use 90 to 360 days after surgery was present in 45% of patients with ONEs.
Stenquist DS, Yeung CM, Szapary HJ, et al. J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2022;6:e22.00079.
The I-PASS structured handoff tool has been widely implemented to improve communication during handoffs and patient transfers. In this study, researchers modified the I-PASS tool for use in orthopedic surgery and assessed the impact on adverse clinical outcomes. After 18 months, there was sustained adherence to the tool and the quality of handoffs improved, but no notable changes in clinical outcomes were identified.
Ghaith S, Campbell RL, Pollock JR, et al. Healthcare (Basel). 2022;10:1328.
Obstetric and gynecologic (OB/GYN) physicians are frequently involved in malpractice lawsuits, some of which result in catastrophic payouts. This study categorized malpractice claims involving OB/GYN trainees (students, residents, and fellows) between 1986 and 2020. Cases are categorized by type of injury, patient outcome, category of error, outcome of lawsuit, and amount of settlement.
Burfeind KG, Zarnegarnia Y, Tekkali P, et al. Anesth Analg. 2022;Epub Aug 19.
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Beers Criteria serves as a guideline for prescribers to avoid potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) in geriatric patients (age 65 years and older). In this retrospective cohort study, nearly 70% of geriatric patients undergoing elective surgery received at least one PIM identified by the Beers Criteria. Patients, including cognitively impaired and frail patients, who received at least one PIM, had longer length of hospital stay after surgery.
Baimas-George M, Ross SW, Hetherington T, et al. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;93:409-417.
Emergency surgery carries an increased risk of death compared to elective surgery. This study used a regional electronic health record (EHR) to examine clinical risk factors associated with mortality in emergency general surgery. Risk factors for both inpatient and 1-year mortality included older age, underweight, neutropenia, and elevated lactate.
van Dalen ASHM, Jung JJ, Nieveen van Dijkum EJM, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:617-623.
Leveraging lessons learned in aviation, patient safety researchers have begun exploring the use of medical data recorders (i.e., “black boxes”) to identify errors and threats to patient safety. This cross-sectional study found that a medical data recorder identified an average of 53 safety threats or resilience support events among 35 standard laparoscopic procedures. These events primarily involved communication failures, poor teamwork, and situational awareness failures.
Prieto JM, Falcone B, Greenberg P, et al. J Surg Res. 2022;279:84-88.
Hospitalized children are vulnerable to patient safety risks. Using a large malpractice claims database, researchers found that a wide range of pediatric surgical specialties – including orthopedics, general surgery, and otolaryngology – are most frequently associated with malpractice lawsuits. The study identified several potentially modifiable factors (i.e., patient evaluations, technical performance, and communication) that can lead to improvements in pediatric surgical safety.

Plymouth Meeting, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; 2022.

Medication errors associated with surgery and other invasive procedures can result in patient harm. This 10-element guidance suggests effective practices to address identified weaknesses in perioperative and procedural medication processes. Recommendations provided cover topics such as drug labeling, communication, and risk management.

US Senate Finance Committee. 117th Cong (2021-2022). August 3, 2022.

Organ transplantation processes require reliable communication and technical expertise to ensure safety for organ delivery and patient care. This hearing discussed the findings of a United States Senate investigation into waste and harm in the US organ transplant system. Blood-type mistakes, transport failures, and process challenges were amongst the problems discussed.
Uffman JC, Kim SS, Quan LN, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2022;7:e574.
Pediatric patients are highly vulnerable to patient safety events in the hospital. This retrospective study of infants less than 6 months of age admitted for ambulatory surgery found that the recommended 2-hour postoperative monitoring did not affect patient safety.   
St Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health.
The National Quality Forum has defined 29 never events—patient safety problems that should never occur, such as wrong-site surgery and patient falls. Since 2003, Minnesota hospitals have been required to report such incidents. The 2021 report summarizes information about 508 adverse events that were reported, representing a significant increase in the year covered. Earlier reports document a fairly consistent count of adverse events. The rise reflected here is likely due to demands on staffing and care processes associated with COVID-19. Pressure ulcers and fall-related injuries were the most common incidents documented. Reports from previous years are available.
Burns ML, Saager L, Cassidy RB, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;157:807-815.
Anesthesiologists often must oversee multiple surgeries. This study evaluated adult patients from 23 US academic and private hospitals who underwent major surgery between 2010, and 2017, to examine anesthesiologist staffing ratios against patient morbidity and mortality. The authors categorized the staffing into four groups based on the number of operations the anesthesiologist was covering. The study found that increased anesthesiologist coverage was associated with greater risk-adjusted morbidity and mortality of surgical patients. Hospitals should consider evaluating anesthesiology staffing to determine potential increased risks.
Weston M, Chiodo C. AORN J. 2022;115:569-575.
Unintentionally retained foreign objects can be exacerbated by fatigue, distractions, and communication errors. This article highlights the importance of effective teamwork, high reliability orientation, and standardized surgical count methods to minimize the persistent problem of retained surgical items.
Minyé HM, Benjamin EM. Br Dent J. 2022;232:879-885.
High reliability organization (HRO) principles used in other high-risk industries (such as aviation) can be applied patient safety. This article provides an overview of how HRO principles (preoccupation with failure, situational awareness, reluctance to simplify, deference to expertise, and commitment to resilience) can be successfully applied in dentistry.
Bicket MC, Waljee JF, Hilliard P. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3:e221356.
Concern for improved prescribing of opiates motivated the development of programs and policies that have inadvertently caused new problems. This commentary discusses the impact of nonopioid use during surgery as a patient preference. It discusses the potential for adverse impacts of the strategy while recognizing the unique situation of perioperative use of pain medications.
Milliren CE, Bailey G, Graham DA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e741-e746.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) use a variety of quality indicators to measure and rank hospital performance. In this study, researchers analyzed the variance between AHRQ pediatric quality indicators and CMS hospital-acquired condition indicators and evaluated the use of alternative composite scores. The researchers identified substantial within-hospital variation across the indicators and could not identify a single composite measure capable of capturing all of the variance observed across the broad range of outcomes. The authors call for additional research to identify meaningful approaches to performance ranking for children’s hospitals.
Abdelmalak BB, Adhami T, Simmons W, et al. Anesth Analg. 2022;135:198-208.
A 2009 CMS Condition of Participation (CoP) requires that a director of anesthesia services assume overall responsibility for anesthesia administered in the hospital, including procedural sedation provided by nonanesthesiologists. This article reviews the CoP as it relates to procedural sedation, lays out a framework for implementing this role, and describes challenges of implementation in a large health system.
Krenzischek DA, Card E, Mamaril M, et al. J Perianesth Nurs. 2022;Epub Apr 27.
Patients and caregivers are important partners in promoting safe care. Findings from this cross-sectional study reinforce the importance of patients’ perceived roles in ensuring safe surgery and highlight the importance of patient engagement in mitigating surgical site errors.