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English M, Ogola M, Aluvaala J, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2021;106:326-332.
Health systems are encouraged to proactively identify patient safety risks. In the first of a two-part series, the authors draw on the  Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework  to discuss the strengths and challenge of a low-resource newborn unit from a systems perspective and SEIPS’ implications for patient safety.
Vincent CA, Mboga M, Gathara D, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2021;106:333-337.
In the second of a two-part series, using examples from newborn units, the authors present a framework for supporting practitioners in low-resource settings to improve patient safety across four areas: (1) prioritizing critical processes, (2) improving the organization of care, (3) control of risks, and (4) enhancing responses to hazardous situations.
Tartari E, Saris K, Kenters N, et al. PLoS One. 2020;15.
Presenteeism among healthcare workers can lead to burnout and healthcare-associated infections, but prior research has found that significant numbers of healthcare workers continue to work despite having influenza-like illness. This study surveyed 249 healthcare workers and 284 non-healthcare workers from 49 countries about their behaviors when experiencing influenza-like illness between October 2018 and January 2019. Overall, 59% of workers would continue to work when experiencing influenza-like illness, and the majority of healthcare workers (89.2-99.2%) and non-healthcare workers (80-96.5%) would continue to work with mild symptoms, such as a mild cough, fatigue or sinus cold.  Fewer non-healthcare workers (16.2%) than healthcare workers (26.9%) would continue working with fever alone.
Blandford A, Dykes PC, Franklin BD, et al. Drug Saf. 2019;42:1157-1165.
Intravenous medication infusions are an important target for safety interventions. Many infused medications, such as opioids and chemotherapy, require vigilant adherence to protocol to prevent harm. Technical solutions to infusion errors such as computerized provider order entry, barcode medication administration, and smart infusion pumps have been implemented with some success. Investigators compared infusion errors in the United States, where all three technical interventions are common, to the United Kingdom, where those technical interventions are rare. Minor errors were common in each country, but only 0.8% of infusions placed patients at serious risk of harm. Although the details of errors in both countries differed in detail, rates of error and harm were similar. A WebM&M commentary described a chemotherapy infusion error that caused renal failure.
Catchpole K, Bisantz A, Hallbeck S, et al. Applied ergonomics. 2019;78:270-276.
Surgery requires specialized approaches to understand and prevent failure. This special issue features the work of multidisciplinary research teams that explored human factors and ergonomic concerns in the operating room that affect communication between robotic-assisted surgery teams, physical resilience of teams, instrument design and use, and poor implementation of briefings as improvement opportunities.
Tetteh EK. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2019;15:827-840.
This commentary introduces the World Health Organization effort to improve medication safety: Medication Without Harm. The author focuses on how strategies and tools, including an intervention framework and guidelines to support safe medication use, can be used in low-resource countries to reduce avoidable harm by 50% in 5 years.
Mianda S, Voce A. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018;18:747.
Clinical leadership training and teamwork training both augment the safety of maternity care. This systematic review found that most leadership training in maternity settings used a work-based learning approach rather than simulation or classroom interventions. The authors emphasize the importance of tailoring leadership interventions to low- and middle-income countries, where this training is less common.
Simsekler MCE, Ward JR, Clarkson J. Ergonomics. 2018;61:1046-1064.
In aviation and other high reliability industries, organizations prioritize proactive risk identification in addition to root cause analysis after safety events occur. Researchers developed a risk identification framework for their health system and tested its feasibility with health care workforce members.
Sholomovich L, Magnezi R. Am J Infect Control. 2017;45:677-681.
Health care–associated infections (HAIs) are a significant source of preventable harm to patients. Although prior research has shown that clean hands are essential for reducing HAIs, health care institutions continue to struggle with hand hygiene compliance. In this study, investigators surveyed 400 nurses at a pediatric hospital and found a positive correlation between psychological safety and belief in personal responsibility for preventing the spread of infection. The authors argue that improving the psychological safety of staff may augment the response to hand hygiene initiatives.
Zohar D, Werber YT, Marom R, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2017;26:653-662.
This randomized controlled trial randomized head nurses in inpatient settings to either receive individual feedback based on questionnaires from frontline nurses followed by goal-setting, versus a summary report of feedback at the end of the intervention. In the intervention group, patient care messages increased and blaming decreased, demonstrating that a brief and feasible intervention can enhance safety culture.
Bashkin O, Caspi S, Swissa A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:47-51.
This pre-post study found that a human factors approach improved blood collection procedures in the emergency department, which is important for preventing adverse events such as transfusion errors. This demonstrates the benefits of applying human factors engineering in patient safety efforts across health care settings.
ALQahtani DA, Rotgans JI, Mamede S, et al. Acad Med. 2016;91:710-716.
Diagnosis is a critical area of patient safety. Prior research demonstrates that physicians perceive time pressure as an impediment to diagnosis, but this has not been objectively documented. This educational simulation study examined the ability of internal medicine residents to correctly diagnose written cases with and without time pressure. Residents under time pressure had reduced diagnostic accuracy, and this decrement was more marked for difficult cases. These results demonstrate the benefit of allowing physicians more time for accurate diagnosis, consistent with recent Institute of Medicine recommendations to examine novel models of care and reimbursement to foster diagnostic safety. A recent PSNet interview discussed diagnostic errors and how to reduce them.
Brezis M, Orkin-Bedolach Y, Fink D, et al. J Patient Saf. 2019;15:296-298.
Investigators presented medical students and physicians at three university medical centers with a clinical vignette to explore levels of confidence, accuracy, and comfort with admitting a mistake. Physicians had higher levels of confidence but less accuracy compared to medical students, and they were less willing to admit making an error. There was a weak association between overconfidence and discomfort with error disclosure.
World Innovation Summit for Health 2015. Doha, Qatar: Qatar Foundation; February 2015.
This conference focused on persisting barriers to patient safety worldwide and recommended strategies to achieve lasting improvement, including dedication to systems engineering, patient-centeredness, and process integration. The session summarized findings of a report developed for the event, Transforming Patient Safety: a Sector-wide Systems Approach. The proceedings collection includes the full text of the report, video of the panel, and podcasts with Margaret Murphy, Dr. Mary Dixon-Woods, Dr. Peter Pronovost, and other participants.
Riskin A, Erez A, Foulk TA, et al. Pediatrics. 2015;136:487-95.
Disruptive physician behavior is a recognized patient safety problem. Fear of confrontation with a disruptive individual may inhibit speaking up about potential errors and worsen safety culture and teamwork. In this simulation study, neonatal intensive care unit teams were exposed to either rude or neutral comments from an observer during their assigned simulated task. Compared to teams receiving neutral comments, those who were exposed to rudeness performed worse. This study complements prior studies which document perceived consequences of disruptive behavior by demonstrating worse simulated task performance. This work also reveals that rudeness external to a team can affect performance and suggests that a polite work culture would foster patient safety.
L'Hommedieu T, DeCoske M, Lababidi RE, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2015;72:1266-8.
Miscommunication during transitions of care can contribute to medication errors. This commentary describes an initiative to involve pharmacy students in care transitions services. Although the authors found that scheduling and training the students for the program was a challenge, 30-day readmission rates were lower for patients who received transitions of care services with pharmacy students versus those who did not.
WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. Cairo, Egypt: World Health Organization; 2015. ISBN: 9789290220596.
Patient safety programs should reflect local needs, motivate clinician and leadership engagement, and support sustainable enhancements. This toolkit provides information about how to establish a patient safety program, implement interventions, determine areas needing improvement, and build a culture of safety.