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Yuan CT, Dy SM, Yuanhong Lai A, et al. Am J Med Qual. 2022;37:379-387.
Patient safety in ambulatory care settings is receiving increased attention. Based on interviews and focus groups with patients, providers, and staff at ten patient-centered medical homes, this qualitative study explored perceived facilitators and barriers to improving safety in ambulatory care. Participants identified several safety issues, including communication failures and challenges with medication reconciliation, and noted the importance of health information systems and dedicated resources to advance patient safety. Patients also emphasized the importance of engagement in developing safety solutions. A recent PSNet perspective discusses patient safety challenges in ambulatory care, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Passwater M, Huggins YM, Delvo Favre ED, et al. Am J Clin Pathol. 2022;158:212-215.
Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) errors are rare but can lead to complications. One hospital implemented a quality improvement project to reduce WBIT errors with electronic patient identification, manual independent dual verification, and staff education. WBIT errors were significantly reduced and sustained over six years.

Millenson M. Forbes. September 16, 2022.

Unnecessary medication infusions indicate weaknesses in medication service processes. While no harm was noted in the case discussed, the actions by the patient’s family to initiate an examination of the incident were rebuffed, patient disrespect was demonstrated, a near miss incident report was absent, and data omissions took place. The piece discusses how these detractors from safety were all present at the hospital involved.
Austin JM, Bane A, Gooder V, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:526-530.
Use of bar code medication administration (BCMA) technology in hospitals has been shown to decrease medication errors at the time of administration. In 2016, the Leapfrog Group implemented a standard for BCMA use as part of its hospital survey. This article describes the development, testing, and subsequent refinement of the BCMA standard.
Moore T, Kline D, Palettas M, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2022;Epub Aug 19.
Fall prevention is a safety priority in hospital settings. This study found that Smart Socks – socks containing pressure sensors that detect when a patient is trying to stand up – reduced fall rates among patients at risk of falls in one hospital’s neurological and neurosurgical department. Over a 13-month period, investigators observed a decreased fall rate (0 per 1000 patient days) among patients wearing Smart Socks compared to prior to intervention implementation (4 per 1000 patient days).
Kraemer KL, Althouse AD, Salay M, et al. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3:e222263.
Nudges (e.g., default order sets) in the electronic health record (EHR) have been shown to encourage safer prescribing of opioids in emergency departments. This study evaluated the effect of nudges to reduce opioid prescribing for opioid-naïve patients with acute pain. Primary care practices were cluster randomized to control, opioid justification in the EHR, peer comparison, or combined opioid justification and peer comparison groups. The three intervention groups showed reduced opioid prescribing compared to control.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition! August 25, 2022:27(17)1-6.

Unanticipated health information system downtime can occur for technical or malicious reasons and healthcare organizations should be prepared for such disruptive events. This article highlights training, planning, simulation, and leadership support as key elements in the successful response to unplanned information system events to manage staff stress and patient safety.
Brösterhaus M, Hammer A, Gruber R, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0272853.
Healthcare organizations use trigger tools to identify potential errors or adverse events in the electronic health record (EHR), measure the frequency of errors, and track safety improvements. Three hospitals in Germany conducted a feasibility study of implementing the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Global Trigger Tool (GTT) in two general surgery units and one neurosurgery unit. Twenty-two feasibility criteria were developed (low-, moderate-, problematic-level of challenge) which may help guide successful implementation of the GTT.

A 65-year-old female with a documented allergy to latex underwent surgery for right-sided Zenker’s diverticulum. Near the conclusion of surgery, a latex Penrose drain was placed in the neck surgical incision. The patient developed generalized urticaria, bronchospasm requiring high airway pressures to achieve adequate ventilation, and hypotension within 5 minutes of placement of the drain. The drain was removed and replaced with a silicone drain. Epinephrine and vasopressors were administered post-operatively and the patient’s symptoms resolved.

AMA J Ethics. 2022;24(8):e715-e816.

Health inequity is recent expansion in the patient safety canon. This special issue examines poor access, quality of care, and health status as contributors to patient harm. Articles discuss race, gender, and ethnicity as factors generating unsafe experiences for patients.

Schnipper JL. Ann Intern Med. 2022;175(8):ho2-ho3.

Medication reconciliation is a primary method for improving the safety of medication administration in acute care. This essay highlights how individual hospitalists can improve medication reconciliation both at the practice and organizational level. Areas of influence discussed include medication history completeness and health information technology design.
Griffey RT, Schneider RM, Todorov AA. Ann Emerg Med. 2022;Epub Aug 1.
Trigger tools are a novel method of detecting adverse events. This article describes the location, severity, omission/commission, and type of adverse events retrospectively detected using the computerized Emergency Department Trigger Tool (EDTT). Understanding the characteristics of prior adverse events can guide future quality and safety improvement efforts.
Pruitt Z, Howe JL, Krevat SA, et al. JAMIA Open. 2022;5:ooac070.
Poor usability of electronic health record (EHR)-based computerized provider order entry (CPOE) can lead to adverse events. Using a newly developed self-administered assessment tool, researchers identified several EHR usability and safety issues across medication, laboratory, and radiology CPOE functions.
Sutherland A, Gerrard WS, Patel A, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2022;11:e001708.
Smart pump software can improve medication safety but can also introduce patient safety hazards, such as alert fatigue. In this study, dose error reduction software (DERS) was implemented across two large UK National Health Service (NHS) institutes for one year. Findings indicate that compliance with DERS was 45%, but across one year of implementation, severe harm or death was avoided in up to 110 patients.

Francoise A. Marvel, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine within the Division of Cardiology at Johns Hopkins Hospital, codirector of the Johns Hopkins Digital Health Innovation Lab, and the chief executive officer (CEO) and cofounder of Corrie Health. We spoke with her about the emergence of application-based tools used for healthcare and the patient safety issues surrounding the use of such tools.

The focus on patient safety in the ambulatory setting was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and appropriately shifting priorities to responding to the pandemic. This piece explores some of the core themes of patient safety in the ambulatory setting, including diagnostic safety and diagnostic errors. Ways to enhance patient safety in the ambulatory care setting and next steps in ambulatory care safety are addressed. 

Halvorson EE, Thurtle DP, Easter A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e928-e933.
Voluntary event reporting (VER) systems are required in most hospitals, but their effectiveness is limited if adverse events (AE) go unreported. In this study, researchers compared rates of AE submitted to the VER against those identified using the Global Assessment of Pediatric Patient Safety (GAPPS) trigger tool to identify disparities based on patient characteristics (i.e., weight, race, English proficiency). The GAPPS tool identified 37 AE in patients with limited English proficiency; none of these were reported to the VER system, suggesting a systematic underreporting of AE in this population.