Incomplete or delayed communication of imaging results can result in harm to the patient and have legal ramifications for the providers involved. This commentary presents a closed-loop communication model for the ordering clinician and radiologist. The model suggests the ordering clinician categorize the radiology report as “concordant” or “discordant”, and if discordant, provide an explanation.
Unintentionally retained foreign objects can be exacerbated by fatigue, distractions, and communication errors. This article highlights the importance of effective teamwork, high reliability orientation, and standardized surgical count methods to minimize the persistent problem of retained surgical items.
Farrell TW, Butler JM, Towsley GL, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:5975.
A robust culture of safety encourages open communication between team members. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and nurses in nursing homes were asked about the extent to which their input about residents was valued by the other team members. CNAs reported they felt valued by other CNAs and nurses, but less valued by physicians and pharmacists.
Hemmelgarn C, Hatlie MJ, Sheridan S, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manage. 2022;27:56-58.
This commentary, authored by patients and families who have experienced medical errors, argues current patient safety efforts in the United States lack urgency and commitment, even as the World Health Organization is increasing its efforts. They call on policy makers and safety agencies to collaborate with the Patients for Patient Safety US organization to move improvement efforts forward.
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.
Mercer AN, Mauskar S, Baird JD, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;150:e2021055098.
Children with serious medical conditions are vulnerable to medical errors. This prospective study examined safety reporting behaviors among parents of children with medical complexity and hospital staff caring for these patients in one tertiary children’s hospital. Findings indicate that parents frequently identify medical errors or quality issues, despite not being routinely advised on how to report safety concerns.
Atkinson MK, Benneyan JC, Bambury EA, et al. Health Care Manage Rev. 2022;47:E50-E61.
Patient safety learning laboratories (PSLL) encourage a cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach to problem solving. This study reports on how a learning ecosystem supported the success of three distinct PSLLs. Qualitative and quantitative results reveal four types of alignment and supporting practices that contribute to the success of the learning laboratories.
Howell EA, Sofaer S, Balbierz A, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2022;139:1061-1069.
Health equity in maternal safety is a major patient safety goal. Researchers interviewed health care professionals, including frontline nurses and physicians, chief medical officers, and quality and safety officers, from high- and low-performing hospitals. Six themes emerged differentiating high and low performers: 1) senior leadership involved in day-to-day quality activities and dedicated to quality improvement, 2) a strong focus on standards and standardized care, 3) strong nurse-physician communication and teamwork, 4) adequate physician and nurse staffing and supervision, 5) sharing of performance data with nurses and other frontline clinicians, and 6) explicit awareness that racial and ethnic disparities exist and that racism and bias in the hospital can lead to differential treatment. PSNet offers a Patient Safety Primer and Curated Library on maternal safety.
Khan A, Baird JD, Kelly MM, et al. Pediatrics. 2022;149:e2021053913.
Patient and family engagement in safety efforts is supported in research but patients and clinicians still experience barriers in providing and accepting feedback. In this study, parents and caregivers of medically complex children reported uncertainty about whether and to whom to report concerns. Other themes included misalignment of staff and parent expectations of care and staff and leadership buy-in on the value of parent engagement.
Webster KLW, Keebler JR, Lazzara EH, et al. Jt Comm Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:343-353.
Effective handoff communication is a key indicator of safe patient care. These authors outline a new model for handoff communication, integrating three theoretical frameworks addressing relevant inputs (i.e., individual organizational, environmental factors), mediators (e.g., communication, leadership), outcomes (e.g., patient, provider, teamwork, and organizational outcomes), and adaptation loops.
Sanchez C, Taylor M, Jones RM. Patient Safety. 2022;4:70-79.
Families and caregivers play an important role in patient safety. This study analyzed incident report data and found that behavior from families and caregivers visiting a patient increased the risk of patient harm in 36% of cases and decreased the risk of harm in the remaining 64% of cases. Certain visitor behaviors (such as moving the patient) increased patient harm, including falls and medication-related events. Other behaviors, such as communicating with healthcare staff, decreased patient harm.
Khan A, Parente V, Baird JD, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2022;176:776-786.
Parent or caregiver limited English proficiency (LPE) has been associated with increased risk of their children experiencing adverse events. In this study, limited English proficiency was associated with lower odds of speaking up or asking questions when something does not appear right with their child’s care. Recommendations for improving communication with limited English proficiency patients and families are presented.
Alpert AB, Mehringer JE, Orta SJ, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;Epub May 31.
Transgender patients who experience or perceive bias when receiving care may avoid or delay seeking care in the future. In this study, transgender patients reported on their experiences in viewing their electronic health record (EHR). In line with previous studies, transgender patients reported experiencing harms in several ways, such as providers using the wrong pronouns, wrong name, or wrong gender marker. The structure of the EHR (e.g., no separate fields for sex and gender) itself also created barriers to quality care.
Perioperative adverse drug events are common and understudied. This review examines factors that contribute to adverse drug events in the surgical setting and discusses prevention strategies that focus on medication reconciliation, technology, standardization, and institutional change.
Wooldridge AR, Carayon P, Hoonakker PLT, et al. Hum Factors. 2022;Epub Jun 5.
Handoffs between inpatient care settings represent a vulnerable time for patients. This qualitative study explores how team cognition occurs during care transitions and interprofessional handoffs between inpatient settings and the influence of sociotechnical systems, such as communication workflows or electronic heath record-based interfaces) influence team cognition. Participants highlighted how interprofessional handoffs can both enhance (e.g., information exchange) and hinder (e.g., logistic challenges and imprecise communication) team cognition.
The change of an inpatient’s location or handoffs between teams can fragment care due to communication, information, and knowledge gaps. This review examines in-patient transition safety issues and summarizes system level, sender, and receiver tactics to reduce patient vulnerability during handoffs.
Redelmeier DA, Etchells EE, Najeeb U. J Hosp Med. 2022;17:405-409.
Empowering healthcare workers to speak up about safety concerns is a core tenant of safety culture. This article outlines how social hierarchies and power differentials among healthcare teams can negatively influence speaking up behavior and approaches to mitigating these pitfalls.
Krenzischek DA, Card E, Mamaril M, et al. J Perianesth Nurs. 2022;Epub Apr 27.
Patients and caregivers are important partners in promoting safe care. Findings from this cross-sectional study reinforce the importance of patients’ perceived roles in ensuring safe surgery and highlight the importance of patient engagement in mitigating surgical site errors.
Doorey AJ, Turi ZG, Lazzara EH, et al. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2022;99:1953-1962.
Closed loop communication (CLC) ensures a clear transfer of information by having the recipient repeat the order for verification. In this study, procedures in the cardiac catheterization lab were observed to assess the frequency and accuracy of CLC. Despite three interventions over five years (education, on-going feedback, accountability), CLC remained suboptimal, with both incomplete orders given and incomplete responses.
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