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This WebM&M describes two incidences of the incorrect patient being transported from the Emergency Department (ED) to other parts of the hospital for tests or procedures. In one case, the wrong patient was identified before undergoing an unnecessary procedure; in the second case, the wrong patient received an unnecessary chest x-ray. The commentary highlights the consequences of patient transport errors and strategies to enhance the safety of patient transport and prevent transport-related errors.

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.

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.

Rosen DA, Criser AL, Petrone AB, et al. J Patient Saf. 2019;15:e90-e93.
This pre–post study found that color-coded head coverings in the operating room significantly decreased misidentification of attending physicians versus medical students. The authors recommend implementation of this highly feasible solution to enhance proper role identification in the surgical setting.
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.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. April 25, 2019.

Newborns assigned temporary names are at increased risk for patient misidentification and wrong-patient errors. This newsletter article reports on the role of electronic health records in newborn misidentification and the unintended consequences associated with a Joint Commission set of recommendations to reduce risk. 
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.
Janowak CF, Agarwal SK, Zarzaur BL. J Surg Res. 2019;238:218-223.
Patients admitted to the hospital in acute trauma situations may be given an alias for medical record purposes during their hospitalization. This survey of critical care clinicians (attending and trainee physicians, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners) reported that alias use can cause confusion in caring for critically ill patients. The authors recommend avoiding aliases and using actual patient identifiers as soon as possible.
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.
United States Government Accountability Office; GAO.
Record matching problems can have serious clinical impacts on patients. This report explores how to optimize demographic data integrity to improve patient record matching, as identifying information is increasingly integrated into shared record keeping systems. The investigation determined strategies to improve matching such as implementing standard data formats and disseminating best practices.
Cohen R, Ning S, Yan MTS, et al. Transfus Med Rev. 2019;33:78-83.
Inaccurate patient registration can result in information gaps that contribute to delay, misunderstandings, and harm. This review discusses registration errors in the blood transfusion process. The authors discuss how problems can occur during various stages in the transfusion process and result in blood-type discrepancies. They suggest improved reporting of identification mistakes and use of photo identification tools as strategies to prevent patient harm associated with registration errors.
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.
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.