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This WebM&M highlights two cases where home diabetes medications were not reviewed during medication reconciliation and the preventable harm that could have occurred. The commentary discusses the importance of medication reconciliation, how to compile the ‘best possible medication history’, and how pharmacy staff roles and responsibilities can reduce medication errors.

Stuijt CCM, van den Bemt BJF, Boerlage VE, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:722.
Medication reconciliation can reduce medication errors, but implementation practices can vary across institutions. In this study, researchers compared data for patients from six hospitals and different clinical departments and found that hospitals differed in the number and type of medication reconciliation interventions performed. Qualitative analysis suggests that patient mix, types of healthcare professionals involved, and when and where the medication reconciliation interviews took place, influence the number of interventions performed.

Clark C. MedPage Today. June 2, 2022

Transparency and discussion of errors is a hallmark of the culture needed to improve safety. This article summarizes an Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation statement directing organizations and individuals that provide anesthesia care to protect patients and encourage learning from error. It provides context through a discussion of official reports and investigations of a high-profile incident that culminated in criminal charges for the clinician involved.

Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. September 22-23, 2022.

The comprehensive unit-based safety program (CUSP) approach emphasizes active teamwork as a core element of improving safety culture through reporting and learning from errors. This virtual conference will cover how to engage teams in the ambulatory environment, address barriers to safe care, and learn from the experiences of others.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; April 2022.

Healthcare-associated infections can result in significant morbidity and mortality. Developed by AHRQ, this customizable, educational toolkit uses the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) and other evidence-based practices to provide clinical and cultural guidance to support practice changes to prevent and reduce central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates in intensive care units (ICUs). Sections of the kit include items such an action plan template, implementation playbook, and team interaction aids.
Rhodus EK, Lancaster EA, Hunter EG, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e503-e507.
Patient falls represent a significant cause of patient harm. This study explored the causes of falls resulting in harm among patients with dementia receiving or referred to occupational therapy (OT). Eighty root cause analyses (RCAs) were included in the analysis. Of these events, three-quarters resulted in hip fracture and 20% led to death. The authors conclude that earlier OT evaluation may decrease the frequency of falls among older adults with dementia.
Hasselblad M, Morrison J, Kleinpell R, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2022;11:e001315.
Disruptive patient behaviors in the hospital not only pose a risk to staff safety, but may also experience patient safety risks such as misdiagnosis. A behavioral intervention team (BIT) was deployed on two adult medical-surgical wards to evaluate the effectiveness of an intensive behavioral management intervention. While there were no differences in the number of behavioral issues reported in the intervention or control group, nurses rated BIT as the most beneficial support to manage patients exhibiting disruptive behaviors.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. April 2022 – October 2023

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a persistent challenge in hospitals. This project will support the implementation of targeted hospital-acquired infection prevention initiatives building on the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) concept. The cohort that is focused on intensive care units and acute care is currently recruiting participants. Cohorts devoted to surgical services and long-term care will begin enrolling members later in 2022.
Sujan M, Bilbro N, Ross A, et al. Appl Ergon. 2022;98:103608.
Failure to rescue refers to delayed or missed recognition of a potentially fatal complication that results in a patient’s death. This single-center study sought to more effectively manage deteriorating patients after emergency surgery and reduce failure to rescue rates. Researchers used the functional resonance analysis method (FRAM) to develop recommendations for strengthening organizational resilience. Recommendations included improving team communication, organizational learning, and relationships.

Bekes JL, Sackash CR, Voss AL, et al. AANA J. 2021;89(4):319-324.

Pediatric medication errors during anesthesia can lead to significant harm and are largely preventable. This review identifies several themes around medication errors including dosing and incorrect medication. Successful error reduction strategies, such as standardized labeling and pre-filled syringes, are also described.
Evans S, Green A, Roberson A, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:151-156.
A lack of situational awareness can lead to delayed recognition of patient deterioration. This children’s hospital developed and implemented a situational awareness framework designed to decrease emergency transfers to the intensive care unit (ICU). The framework included both objective and subjective criteria. By identifying patients at increased risk of clinical deterioration (“watcher status”) and use of the framework, recognition of deterioration occurred sooner and resulted in fewer emergency transfers to the ICU.
Koeck JA, Young NJ, Kontny U, et al. Pediatric Drugs. 2021;23:223-240.
Pediatric patients are at risk for medication prescribing errors due to weight-based dosing. This review analyzed 70 interventions aimed at reducing weight-based prescribing errors. Findings indicate that bundled interventions are most effective, and that interventions should include substitute or engineering controls (e.g., computerized provider order entry) along with administrative controls (e.g., expert consultation).
Mitchell OJL, Neefe S, Ginestra JC, et al. Resusc Plus. 2021;6:100135.
Rapid response teams (RRT) are intended to improve the identification and management of clinically worsening hospitalized patients. This study identified an increase in RRT activations for respiratory distress at one academic hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors outline the hospital response, which included revising RRT guidelines to reduce in-room personnel, new decision-support pathways, which accounted for COVID-19 uncertainty, and expanded critical care consults for inpatient care team.
Manias E, Bucknall T, Woodward-Kron R, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18:3925.
Interprofessional communication is critical to safe medication management during transitions of care. Researchers conducted this ethnographic study to explore inter- and intra-professional communications during older adults’ transitions of care. Communication was influenced by the transferring setting, receiving setting, and ‘real-time’ communication. Lack of, or poor, communication impacted medication safety; researchers recommend more proactive communication and involvement of the pharmacist.
Cataldo RRV, Manaças LAR, Figueira PHM, et al. J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2022;28:884-891.
Clinical pharmacist involvement has improved medication safety in several clinical areas. Using the therapeutic outcome monitoring (TOM) method, pharmacists in this study identified 43 negative outcomes associated with oral chemotherapy medication and performed 81 pharmaceutical interventions. The TOM method increased patient safety by improving the use of medications.
Kanaan AO, Sullivan KM, Seed SM, et al. Pharmacy (Basel). 2020;8:225.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ability of pharmacists to ensure medication safety. This article uses case scenarios to highlight challenges encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic that required changes in pharmacist roles. Strategies to overcome challenges related to monitoring medications used to treat patients with COVID-19, preventing errors with laboratory reporting, and managing drug shortages are discussed.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; September 24, 2020. 

Unit-based pharmacy services help to mitigate and catch medication errors. This report highlights a case of a medication error death and describes how embedding clinical pharmacy services could have prevented this incident. The report provides system level recommendations to enhance this service including defining the role of clinical pharmacy teams and prioritizing the tactic as an important improvement strategy.