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Keller SC, Caballero TM, Tamma PD, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2220512.
Prescribing antibiotics increases the risk of resistant infections and can lead to patient harm. From December 2019 to November 2020, 389 ambulatory practices participated in a quality improvement project using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use Program. The goal of the intervention was to support implementation and sustainment of antibiotic stewardship into practice culture, communication, and decision-making. Practices that completed the program and submitted data showed a significant decrease of antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory infections at program completion in November 2020.
Jordan M, Young-Whitford M, Mullan J, et al. Aust J Gen Pract. 2022;51:521-528.
Interventions such as deprescribing, pharmacist involvement, and medication reconciliation are used to reduce polypharmacy and use of high-risk medications such as opioids. In this study, a pharmacist was embedded in general practice to support medication management of high-risk patients. This study presents perspectives of the pharmacists, general practitioners, practice personnel, patients, and carers who participated in the program.
Xiao Y, Smith A, Abebe E, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub May 22.
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to medication errors due to polypharmacy and medical complexities. In this qualitative study, healthcare professionals outlined several multifactorial hazards for medication-related harm during care transitions, including complex dosing, knowledge gaps, errors in discharge medications and gaps in access to care.
Fenton JJ, Magnan E, Tseregounis IE, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2216726.
Adverse events associated with long-term opioid therapy have led to recommendations for dose tapering for patients with chronic pain. This study assessed the long-term risks of overdose and mental health crisis as a result of dose tapering. Consistent with earlier research on short-term risks, results indicate that opioid tapering is associated with increased risk of adverse events up to 24 months after initiation of tapering.

This WebM&M highlights two cases of patient safety events that occurred due to medication dosing related to diagnostic imaging. The commentary highlights the challenges of administering sedation for diagnostic imaging, the use of risk stratification to understand patient risk for oversedation, and strategies for appropriate monitoring and communication.

Young RA, Fulda KG, Espinoza A, et al. J Am Board Fam Med. 2022;35:610-628.
Identifying barriers and facilitators of medication safety is a patient safety research priority. In this systematic review characterizing the research on medication safety in primary care, researchers found that the majority of studies focused on high-risk populations (such as older adults with polypharmacy) and measured potential harms (such as potentially inappropriate prescribing or potential prescribing omissions) rather than actual harms.
Vallamkonda S, Ortega CA, Lo YC, et al. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2022;290:120-124.
Prior research has found that electronic health record (EHR) implementation has introduced risks to patient safety. Using data from one hospital’s EHR system, this study reviewed active allergy alerts in patient records and concluded that 37% of those records required reconciliation of allergy information across different areas of the EHR. These findings highlight the need for automated reconciliation algorithms and clinical decision support tools to help clinicians identify potential allergy discrepancies and avoid patient safety risks.
Gleeson LL, Ludlow A, Wallace E, et al. Explor Res Clin Soc Pharm. 2022;6:100143.
Primary care rapidly shifted to telehealth and virtual visits at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study asked general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists in Ireland about the impact of technology (i.e., virtual visits, electronic prescribing) on medication safety since the pandemic began. Both groups identified electronic prescribing as the most significant workflow change. GPs did not perceive a change in medication safety incidents due to electronic prescribing; pharmacists reported a slight increase in incidents.
Cedillo G, George MC, Deshpande R, et al. Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2022;17:28.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an opioid prescribing guideline intended to reverse the increasing death rate from opioid overdoses. This study describes the development, implementation, and effect of a safe prescribing strategy (TOWER) in an HIV-focused primary care setting. Providers using TOWER were more adherent to the CDC guidelines, with no worsening patient-reported outcome measures.
Salema N-E, Bell BG, Marsden K, et al. BJGP Open. 2022;Epub May 6.
Medication prescribing errors are common, particularly during medical training. This retrospective review of prescriptions from ten general practitioners in training in the United Kingdom identified a high rate of prescribing errors (8.9% of prescriptions reviewed) and suboptimal prescribing (35%).

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.
Butler AM, Brown DS, Durkin MJ, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2214153.
Inappropriately prescribing antibiotics for non-bacterial infections remains common in outpatient settings despite the associated risks. This analysis of antibiotics prescribed to more than 2.8 million children showed more than 30% of children with bacterial infection, and 4%-70% of children with viral infection were inappropriately prescribed antibiotics. Inappropriate prescribing led to increased risk of adverse drug events (e.g., allergic reaction) and increased health expenditures in the following 30 days.
Jambon J, Choukroun C, Roux-Marson C, et al. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2022;45:65-71.
Polypharmacy in older adults is an ongoing safety concern due to the risk of being prescribed a potentially inappropriate medication or co-prescription of medications with dangerous interactions. In this study of adults aged 65 and older with chronic pain, 54% were taking at least one potentially inappropriate medication and 43% were at moderate or high risk of adverse drug events. Measures such as involvement of a pharmacist in medication review could reduce risk of adverse drug events in older adult outpatients.
Molist-Brunet N, Sevilla-Sánchez D, Puigoriol-Juvanteny E, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:3423.
Inappropriate prescribing and polypharmacy can place older adults at increased risk for medication-related adverse events. This study found that up to 90% of older adults had at least one inappropriate prescription, regardless of residential setting but medication review resulted in a greater decrease in risk factors for medication-related adverse events (e.g., polypharmacy, therapeutic complexity) among nursing home patients compared to patients living at home.
Strube‐Lahmann S, Müller‐Werdan U, Klingelhöfer‐Noe J, et al. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2022;10:e00953.
Patients receiving home care services are vulnerable to medication errors. Based on survey feedback from 485 home care nurses in Germany, this study found that regular medication training and use of quality assurance principles (i.e., double checking) can decrease the incidence of medication errors in home care settings.
Brady KJS, Barlam TF, Trockel MT, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:287-297.
Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics to treat viral illnesses is an ongoing patient safety threat. This study examined the association between clinician depression, anxiety, and burnout and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in outpatient care. Depression and anxiety, but not burnout, were associated with increased adjusted odds of inappropriate prescribing for RTIs.
Plymouth Meeting, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; 2022.
This updated report describes best practices to ensure safety when preparing sterile compounds, including pharmacist verification of orders entered into computerized provider order entry systems. The guidelines emphasize the role of technologies such as barcoding and robotic image recognition as approaches to enhance safety. In addition, it covers safe practices when technologies are not available.

Post-acute transitions – which involve patients being discharged from the hospital to home-based or community care environments – are associated with patient safety risks, often due to poor communication and fragmented care. This primer outlines the main types of home-based care services and formal home-based care programs and how these services can increase patient safety and improve health outcomes.

Navathe AS, Liao JM, Yan XS, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2022;41:424-433.
Opioid overdose and misuse continues to be a major public health concern with numerous policy- and organization-level approaches to encourage appropriate clinician prescribing. A northern California health system studied the effects of three interventions (individual audit feedback, peer comparison, both combined) as compared to usual care at several emergency department and urgent care sites. Peer comparison and the combined interventions resulted in a significant decrease in pills per prescription.
Uitvlugt EB, Heer SE, van den Bemt BJF, et al. Res Soc Admin Pharm. 2022;18:2651-2658.
Pharmacists play a critical role in medication safety during transitions of care. This multi-center study found that a transitional pharmacy care program (including teach-back, pharmacy discharge letter, home visit by community pharmacist, and medication reconciliation by both the community and hospital pharmacist) did not decrease the proportion of patients with adverse drug events (ADE) after hospital discharge. The authors discuss several possible explanations as to why the intervention did not impact ADEs and suggest that a process evaluation is needed to explore ways in which a transitional pharmacy care program could reduce ADEs.