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Walker D, Moloney C, SueSee B, et al. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2022;Epub Jun 27.
Safe medication management practices are critical to providing safe care in all healthcare settings. While there are studies reporting a variety of prehospital adverse events (e.g., respiratory and airway events, communication, etc.), there have been few studies of medication errors that occur in prehospital settings. This mixed methods systematic review of 56 studies and case reports identifies seven major themes such as organizational factors, equipment/medications, environmental factors, procedure-related factors, communication, patient-related factors, and cognitive factors as contributing to safe medication management.

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.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. June 2, 2022;27(11):1-4.

Minimizing look-alike/sound-alike medication risk is a universal need across health care. This story highlights a primary prevention tool that lists problematic drug names. It shares strategies across the medication use process to reduce errors associated with similarly named and labeled medications such as separate storage areas and tall man lettering.
Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research; May 18, 2022.
This guidance outlines design elements that reduce errors associated with medication labels. Improvements suggested include tall-man lettering use, look-alike / sound alike avoidance and abbreviation minimization.

Kelman B. Kaiser Health News. April 29, 2022.

Technological solutions harbor unique risks that can result in patient harm. This article shares a response to reports of automated dispensing cabinet (ADC) menu selection limitations that contribute to mistakes. The piece suggests the implementation of a 5-letter search requirement prior to removing a medication from an ADC. It provides an update on industry response to this forcing function recommendation.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Just Culture Company. May 6, 2022.

Organizational factors can contribute to the occurrence of patient safety events and how health systems respond to such events. This webinar highlighted lessons learned in the aftermath of a fatal medication error, and strategies to improve patient safety at the organizational level through system design and accountability.

ECRI. Plymouth Meeting, PA. March 2022.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated patient safety concerns. ECRI presents the top ten patient concerns for 2022, including staffing challenges, human factors in telehealth, and supply chain disruptions.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; February 2, 2022.

Weight-calculation errors can result in pediatric patient harm as they affect medication prescribing, dispensing, and administration accuracy. This report examines factors contributing to a computation mistake that resulted in a child receiving a 10-fold anticoagulant overdose over a 3-day period. Areas of focus for improvement include use of prescribing technology, and the double-check as an error barrier.

National Alert Network. Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. December 6, 2021. 

Vaccine missteps are known to occur during flu and COVID-19 inoculation efforts. This announcement raises awareness of misadministration of COVID vaccines associated with patient age. It highlights storage protocols as one approach to minimize mistakes. This alert is part of a national program to distribute learnings from report analysis to improve medication safety.

Ruskin KJ, ed. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2021;34(6):720-765

Anesthesia services are high risk despite progress made in the specialty to improve its safety. This special section covers issues that affect anesthesia safety such as critical incident debriefing, human factors, and educational strategies.

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.

MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; October 12, 2021.

This announcement highlights the possibility of medication administration inaccuracy due to design characteristics of a low dose tip (LDT) syringe. Recommended cleaning methods and other actions for patients, families and clinicians are provided to protect dose precision when using these syringes.
Berdot S, Vilfaillot A, Bézie Y, et al. BMC Nurs. 2021;20:153.
Interruptions have been identified as a common source of medication errors. In this study of the effectiveness of a “do not interrupt” vest worn by nurses from medication preparation to administration, neither medication administration error or interruption rates improved.
Koeck JA, Young NJ, Kontny U, et al. Front Pediatr. 2021;9:633064.
Medication safety in children is a patient safety priority. This systematic review explored interventions to reduce medication dispensing, administration, and monitoring errors in pediatric healthcare settings. The majority of identified studies used “administrative controls” to prevent errors, but those implementing higher-level interventions (such as smart pumps and mandatory barcode scanning) were more likely to result in error reduction.
Taylor M, Reynolds C, Jones RM. Patient Safety. 2021;3:45-62.
Isolation for infection prevention and control – albeit necessary – may result in unintended consequences and adverse events. Drawing from data submitted to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS), researchers explored safety events that impacted COVID-19-positive or rule-out status patients in insolation. The most common safety events included pressure injuries or other skin integrity events, falls, and medication-related events.
Kakemam E, Chegini Z, Rouhi A, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29:1974-1982.
Clinician burnout, characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decreased sense of accomplishment, can result in worse patient safety outcomes. This study explores the association of nurse burnout and self-reported occurrence of adverse events during COVID-19. Results indicate higher levels of nurse burnout were correlated with increased perception of adverse events, such as patient and family verbal abuse, medication errors, and patient and family complaints. Recommendations for decreasing burnout include access to psychosocial support and human factors approaches.
Leeftink AG, Visser J, de Laat JM, et al. Ergonomics. 2021:1-11.
Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is widely used to identify latent safety hazards. The authors of this study proposed combining healthcare failure mode and effect analysis (HFMEA) with computer simulation (HFMEA-CS) for prospective risk analysis of complex and potentially harmful processes. Use of HFMEA-CS to analyze medication processes during admission and discharge for patients with a rare adrenal tumor led to a reduction in drug delivery and system errors, as well as increased drug adherence.