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Carrillo I, Mira JJ, Guilabert M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(6):e529-e533.
While prior research has shown patients want disclosure of adverse events, healthcare providers may still be hesitant to disclose and apologize. Factors that influence providers’ willingness to disclose errors and apologize include organizational support, experience in communicating errors, and expectations surrounding patient response. A culture of safety and a clear legal framework may increase providers’ willingness to disclose errors and apologize.
Elwy AR, Maguire EM, McCullough M, et al. Healthc (Amst). 2021;8(Suppl1):100496.
Disclosure of medical errors is supported by both patients and providers. Following the implementation of the Veterans Health Administration’s policy on disclosing medical errors to patients and their families, it was necessary to determine the effects of implementation (or not) of this policy. This article describes the development, implementation, and sustainment of an error disclosure toolkit for use across the VA system.

Ross NE, Newman WJ. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. Epub 2021 May 21.

Open disclosure of errors and adverse events is increasingly encouraged in healthcare, but clinicians frequently cite fear of malpractice lawsuits as a reason to avoid apologizing for an error. This commentary summarizes the relationship between apologies and malpractice, the emergency of apology laws in the United States, and research exploring the impact of apology laws on malpractice claims and patient outcomes.

Rosen M, Ali KJ, Buckley BO, et al. Rockville, MD; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: June 2021.

The mindset on diagnostic error improvement has gone from a focus on individual skills to that of system factors. This issue brief highlights the influence health system executives have on amending the care environment to facilitate the most effective environment for diagnostic accuracy. This is the latest in a publication series examining diagnostic improvement across health care.

Famolaro T, Hare R, Thornton S, et al. Surveys on Patient Safety CultureTM (SOPSTM). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2020. AHRQ Publication No. 20-0034.

A vibrant culture of safety is critical to achieving high reliability in health care. Ambulatory practices with weaker safety cultures can experience problems in teamwork, diagnosis, and staff turnover. The AHRQ Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture was designed to evaluate safety culture in outpatient clinics. The 2020 comparative database report assessed 10 safety culture domains in 1,475 medical offices. Respondents reported effective patient follow-up practices and scored well on equitable care delivery. Many practices cited time pressure and workload as persistent challenges to safety hazards. Although the practices surveyed are not nationally representative, they do provide a comparative safety culture snapshot for industry assessment. A past WebM&M commentary discussed safety hazards associated with productivity pressures in health care.
Shaw J, Bastawrous M, Burns S, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(1):30-35.
Patients who have fallen in their homes and are found by a home healthcare worker are referred to as “found-on-floor” incidents. This study found that length of stay was a key theme in found-on-floor incidents and signaled underlying system-level issues, such as lack of informational continuity across the continuum of care (e.g., lack of standard documentation across settings, unclear messaging regarding clients’ home care needs), reliance on home healthcare workers instead of rehabilitation professionals, and lack of fall assessment follow-up. The authors recommend systems-level changes to improve fall prevention practices, such as use of electronic health records across the continuum of care and enhanced accountability in home safety.  
LeCraw FR, Stearns SC, McCoy MJ. J Patient Saf Risk Manag. 2021;26(1):34-40.
Healthcare systems have implemented communication-and-resolution programs (CRPs) to respond and disclose serious errors and adverse events. This article describes methods used by nine teams of CRP advocates to encourage adoption and endorsement by hospitals and national medical societies at the national, state, and local levels.  

Washington DC; United States Government Accountability Office; November 26, 2020. Publication GAO-21-7SP.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to enhance the safety and reliability of clinical and administrative functions. This US Government Accountability Office report outlines barriers impacting the widespread use of AI, such as privacy concerns and lack of development transparency. Collaboration and oversight are areas of policy focus highlighted to address these challenges.

Heaven WD. MIT Technology Review. November 12, 2020.

Lack of transparency of research and development processes are thought to undermine the value of artificial intelligence (AI) and trust in its conclusions. This story highlights concerns generated by AI research examining breast cancer screening. The author discusses how the lack of transparency, while understandable due to proprietary concerns, may reduce the safety of the tools as they are tested for use.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. October 8, 2020;25(20):1-4

In-depth investigations provide multidisciplinary insights that inform sustainable improvement opportunities. This newsletter story highlights a drug administration error examination by a dedicated office in the United Kingdom highlight the value of a commitment to deep, non-punitive analysis of patient safety incidents to enable transparency and learning.

Eng DM, Schweikart SJ. AMA J Ethics. 2020;22(9):e779-e783.

The recognition that humans err and the situation of response to error in a constructive and nonpunitive light are central to achieving safe patient care. This article discusses how implementation of just culture principles can assign accountability appropriately while encouraging disclosure and improvement when mistakes occur. 

Boston, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement: September 2020.  

This National Action Plan developed by the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety – a group of 27 national organizations convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement – provides direction for health care leaders and organizations to implement and adapt effective tactics and supportive actions to establish the recommendations laid out in the plan. Its areas of focus include culture, leadership, and governance, patient and family engagement, workforce safety and learning systems.