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Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. Harrisburg, PA: Patient Safety Authority; April 2022.
This report summarizes patient safety improvement work in the state of Pennsylvania and reviews the 2021 activities of the Patient Safety Authority, including the Agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, video programs, liaison efforts, publication programs, and the launch of a new learning management system.

RA-UK, the Faculty of Pain Medicine, RCoA Simulation and NHS Improvement

Standardization is a common strategy for preventing practice deviations that can contribute to harm. This tool outlines a three-step process for minimizing the occurrence of wrong-side peripheral nerve blocks that involves preparing for the procedure, stopping to perform a two-person site confirmation, and then administering the block.
Dunbar NM, Kaufman RM. Transfusion (Paris). 2022;62:44-50.
Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) errors can be classified as intended patient drawn/wrong label applied or wrong patient/intended label applied. In this international study, errors were divided almost evenly between the two types and most were a combination of protocol violations (e.g. technology not used or not used appropriately) and slips/lapses (e.g., registration errors). Additional contributory factors and recommendations for improvement are also discussed.

This commentary presents two cases highlighting common medication errors in retail pharmacy settings and discusses the importance of mandatory counseling for new medications, use of standardized error reporting processes, and the role of clinical decision support systems (CDSS) in medical decision-making and ensuring medication safety.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; June 3, 2021.

Wrong site/wrong patent surgery is a persistent healthcare never event. This report examines National Health Service (NHS) reporting data to identify how ambulatory patient identification errors contribute to wrong patient care. The authors recommend that the NHS use human factors methods to design control processes to target and manage the risks in the outpatient environment such as lack of technology integration, shared waiting area space, and reliance on verbal communication at clinic.

Kim T, Howe J, Franklin E, et al. Patient Safety. 2020;2(4):40–57.   

Patient misidentification errors have the potential for serious patient harm. This study analyzed the processes of care involved in 1,189 wrong-patient events. Most errors occurred during ordering/prescribing (42%). One-quarter of all events reached the patient, most commonly involving inappropriate medication administration or receiving the wrong test or procedure. Errors caught before reaching the patient were primarily attributed to information review by nurses, technicians, or other healthcare staff. The authors recommend several strategies for reducing wrong-patient errors. 
Fortman E, Hettinger AZ, Howe JL, et al. J Am Med Inform Asso. 2020.
Physicians from different health systems using two computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems participated in simulated patient scenarios using eye movement recordings to determine whether the physician looked at patient-identifying information when placing orders. The rate of patient identification overall was 62%, but the rate varied by CPOE system. An expert panel identified three potential reasons for this variation – visual clutter and information density, the number of charts open at any given time, and the importance placed on patient identification verification by institutions.  
Ho S, Stamm R, Hibbs M, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:814-821.
Recent guidelines from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices have warned of the risk of blood-borne disease transmission associated with insulin pen sharing in hospitalized patients and provide recommendations for safe practices.  This paper describes the impact on insulin pen sharing after the implementation of safe practice recommendations (e.g., label redesign, patient-specific bar coding on pens) at a quaternary academic medical center. Institutional efforts resulted in a less frequent pen-sharing events and a decrease in latent errors found during medication drawer audits, such as retained pens after discharge and illegible or missing label. 
Thomas JJ, Yaster M, Guffey P. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;46:118-121.
The Universal Protocol was intended to prevent wrong site, wrong procedure and wrong person surgery; however, these errors persist. In an effort to reduce wrong-patient charting and near-miss events involving anesthesia, this study implemented a digital photograph to the pre-anesthesia checklist to prompt visual inspection of the patient’s facial image and verification of their hospital ID bracelet. After implementation, only one instance of wrong-patient charting was documented; however, baseline data was unavailable and thus, it is unknown whether this intervention reduced mischarting error.
Adelman JS, Applebaum JR, Schechter CB, et al. JAMA. 2019;321:1780-1787.
Having multiple patient records open in the electronic health record increases the potential risk of wrong-patient actions. This randomized trial tested two different electronic health record configurations: one allowed up to four patient records to be open at a time, and the other allowed only one to be open. Among the 3356 clinicians with nearly 4.5 million order sessions, there were no significant differences in wrong-patient orders. However, the investigators noted that clinicians in the multiple records group placed most orders with just one record open. A post hoc analysis determined that the rate of errors increased when orders were placed with multiple records open. A related editorial highlights the tradeoffs between safety and efficiency and argues for examining the context of the two configurations, including throughput and clinician satisfaction. A previous PSNet perspective discussed assessing and improving the safety of electronic health records.
Ferguson C, Hickman L, Macbean C, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2019;28:2365-2368.
Patient misidentification can result in incorrect diagnosis, treatment, and medication administration. This commentary discusses the practice of auditing patient identification wristbands to assess compliance and accuracy. The authors suggest that technological interventions such as smartphone facial recognition and barcode technologies be considered as strategies to avoid patient misidentification.
Kaufman RM, Dinh A, Cohn CS, et al. Transfusion (Paris). 2019;59:972-980.
Wrong-patient errors in blood transfusion can lead to serious patient harm. Research has shown that use of barcodes to ensure correct patient identification can reduce medication errors, but less is known about barcoding in transfusion management. This pre–post study examined the impact of barcode labeling on the rate of wrong blood in tube errors. Investigators found that use of barcoding improved the accuracy of labels on blood samples and samples that had even minor labeling errors had an increased chance of misidentifying the patient. The authors conclude that the results support the use of barcoding and the exclusion of blood samples with even minor labeling errors in order to ensure safe blood transfusion. An accompanying editorial delineates the complex workflow, hardware, and software required to implement barcoding for transfusion. A past WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving a mislabeled blood specimen.
Hensley NB, Koch CG, Pronovost PJ, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:190-198.
Following a sentinel wrong-patient event, a multidisciplinary quality improvement team worked to enhance the safety of blood transfusion. The authors report significant improvement in protocol adherence following institution of barcoding and auditing via the electronic health record.
Graham J.
Patients can identify errors in their medical records that health care providers may not recognize. This news article highlights the importance of patients correcting seemingly simple mistakes such as name misspellings and phone numbers as these errors can contribute to situations that result in patient harm.
Neily J, Soncrant C, Mills PD, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1:e185147.
The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum both consider wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgeries to be never events. Despite improvement approaches ranging from the Universal Protocol to nonpayment for the procedures themselves and any consequent care, these serious surgical errors continue to occur. This study measured the incidence of incorrect surgeries in Veterans Health Administration medical centers from 2010 to 2017. Surgical patient safety events resulting in harm were rare and declined by more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2017. Dentistry, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery had the highest incidence of in–operating room adverse events. Root cause analysis revealed that 29% of events could have been prevented with a correctly performed time-out. A WebM&M commentary examined an incident involving a wrong-side surgery.
MacMaster HW, Gonzalez S, Maruoka A, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:380-386.
Insulin is a widely used high-risk medication. This quality improvement intervention employed barcode medication administration and a standardized electronic health record–integrated workflow to successfully reduce wrong-patient insulin pen errors. The authors call for widespread implementation of medication safety improvements into electronic health records.
Ensaldo-Carrasco E, Carson-Stevens A, Cresswell K, et al. Br Dent J. 2018;224:733-740.
This Delphi study aimed to identify expert consensus on never events in dentistry. The resulting list of 23 events includes medication errors, retained objects, and wrong patient and wrong procedure events across diagnostic and treatment activities and is consistent with existing never events in medicine.
Gillespie BM, Harbeck EL, Lavin J, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2018;7:e000362.
Checklists like the Universal Protocol are a widely accepted strategy for reducing wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong patient surgeries. The authors describe a campaign that improved checklist participation and completion in an academic hospital in Australia. A PSNet interview with Lucian Leape explored the challenges of achieving robust and universal use of checklists.
Taicher BM, Tew S, Figueroa L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27.
The Universal Protocol is designed to prevent wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong person surgery. Researchers implemented a color-coded Universal Protocol in a Guatemalan surgery center. Errors decreased after multiple implementation cycles, demonstrating the feasibility of the tool in a developing country.
Arndt RZ. Mod Healthc. July 14, 2018.
Similarities in patient names and clinical situations can result in medical errors. Discussing how digital technologies can exacerbate patient identification problems, this magazine article describes unique elements of information systems that enable mistakes to spread quickly, outlines costs associated with patient mismatches, and recommends improvement strategies such as use of unique patient identifiers. A past WebM&M commentary reviewed an incident involving a patient mix-up.