Macrae C, Draycott T. Safety Sci. 2016;117:490-500.
Simulation training can enhance teamwork, identify latent problems, and contribute to improved patient outcomes. This commentary explores the value of frontline obstetric simulation to develop high reliability. The authors discuss relational rehearsal, system structuring, and practice elaboration as elements of a successful simulation-focused organizational learning initiative.
Patients admitted to the hospital on the weekend have been shown to experience worse outcomes compared to those admitted on weekdays. This weekend effect has been observed numerous times across multiple health care settings. However, whether patient characteristics (patients admitted on the weekend may be more severely ill) or system factors (less staffing and certain services may not be available on the weekend) are primarily responsible remains debated. In this systematic review and meta-analysis including 68 studies, researchers found a pooled odds ratio for weekend mortality of 1.16. Moreover, the weekend effect in these studies was more pronounced for elective rather than unplanned admissions. They conclude that the evidence suggesting that the weekend effect reflects worse quality of care is of low quality. A past PSNet perspective discussed the significance of the weekend effect with regard to cardiology.
Wood C, Chaboyer W, Carr P. Int J Nurs Stud. 2019;94:166-178.
Early detection of patient deterioration remains an elusive patient safety target. This scoping review examined how nurses employ early warning scoring systems that prompt them to call rapid response teams. Investigators identified 23 studies for inclusion. Barriers to effective identification and treatment of patient deterioration included difficulty implementing early warning score systems, overreliance on numeric risk scores, and inconsistent activation of rapid response teams based on early warning score results. They recommend that nurses follow scoring algorithms that calculate risk for deterioration while supplementing risk scoring with their clinical judgment from the bedside. A WebM&M commentary highlighted how early recognition of patient deterioration requires not only medical expertise but also collaboration and communication among providers.
Smith AF, Plunkett E. Anaesthesia. 2019;74:508-517.
Health care leaders have embraced applying safety sciences methods to improve care delivery. This review discusses the evolution of health care safety from focusing on reactive analysis and response to error (Safety-1) to one that seeks to prevent errors through emphasizing safe system design (Safety-2). The authors advocate for developing a resilient system to examine what works well and incorporate those practices into daily work.
Clarkson MD, Haskell H, Hemmelgarn C, et al. BMJ. 2019;364:l1233.
The term "second victim," coined by Dr. Albert Wu, has engendered mixed responses from patients and health care professionals. This commentary raises concerns that the term negates the sense of responsibility for errors that result in harm and advocates for abandoning it.
Sutherland A, Ashcroft DM, Phipps DL. Arch Dis Child. 2019;104:588-595.
Using clinical vignettes, investigators conducted semi-structured interviews with those prescribing medications in a pediatric intensive care unit to better understand human factors contributing to prescribing errors. They found that cognitive load was the main contributor to such errors.
Arriaga AF, Sweeney RE, Clapp JT, et al. Anesthesiology. 2019;130:1039-1048.
Debriefing after a critical event is a strategy drawn from high reliability industries to learn from failures and improve performance. This retrospective study of critical events in inpatient anesthesiology practice found that debriefing occurred in 49% of the incidents. Debriefs were less likely to occur when critical communication breakdowns were involved, and more than half of crisis events included at least one such breakdown. Interviews with care teams revealed that communication breakdowns present in some incidents impeded the subsequent debriefing process. The authors call for more consistent implementation of debriefing as a recommended patient safety process. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving miscommunication between a surgeon and an anesthesiologist.
Martin G, Khajuria A, Arora S, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2019;26:339-355.
This systematic review examined whether mobile technology has been shown to improve teamwork or communication in acute care settings. Few studies met methodological quality standards, but researchers conclude that mobile technology holds promise to enhance safety through improved teamwork and communication in hospital settings.
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.
Hessels AJ, Paliwal M, Weaver SH, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2019;34:287-294.
This cross-sectional study examined associations between safety culture, missed nursing care, and adverse events. Investigators found significant associations between worse ratings of safety culture and more reports of missed nursing care. They recommend enhancing safety culture to reduce missed nursing care and improve safety.
Basner M; Asch DA; Shea JA; Bellini LM; Carlin M; Ecker AJ; Malone SK; Desai SV; Sternberg AL; Tonascia J; Shade DM; Katz JT; Bates DW; Even‑Shoshan O; Silber JH; Small DS; Volpp KG; Mott CG; Coats S; Mollicone DJ; Dinges DF; iCOMPARE Research Group.
This cluster-randomized trial compared an internal medicine residency schedule that adhered to 2011 duty hour regulations to a flexible schedule that maintained an overall 80-hour work week. Self-reported sleepiness and measured sleep duration did not differ by group, but residents in the flexible programs performed worse on psychomotor vigilance testing, a measure of alertness. The authors recommend implementing fatigue-management training during residency.
Silber JH; Bellini LM; Shea JA; Desai SV; Dinges DF; Basner M; Even-Shoshan O; Hill AS; Hochman LL; Katz JT; Ross RN; Shade DM; Small DS; Sternberg AL; Tonascia J; Volpp KG; Asch DA; iCOMPARE Research Group.
Duty hour reform for resident physicians was implemented as a patient safety measure, but it remains controversial. The iCOMPARE study is a cluster-randomized noninferiority trial in which 63 internal medicine programs were assigned either to follow the 2011 duty hour rules or to maintain flexible resident schedules. Researchers found no significant differences in 30-day mortality or AHRQ patient safety indicators among programs with fixed versus flexible resident schedules, similar to a recent study of surgical trainees. Programs with flexible schedules had slightly higher 30-day readmission rates and higher incidence of prolonged length of stay. Overall, the authors conclude that local flexibility in resident schedules did not adversely affect patient safety. An accompanying editorial calls for eliciting patient perspectives about trainee duty hours and the therapeutic relationship between rotating physicians and the hospitalized patient. A previous PSNet interview discussed the FIRST trial, which examined how less restrictive duty hours affected patient outcomes and resident satisfaction.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can improve the use of data in care delivery. This review recommends steps to enhance the use of AI in bedside care. The author highlights the need for clinicians to accept that AI tools will affect care processes and be trained to participate in AI integration on the front line.
Sun E, Mello MM, Rishel CA, et al. JAMA. 2019;321:762-772.
Scheduling overlapping surgeries has raised substantial patient safety concerns. However, research regarding the impact of concurrent surgery on patient outcomes has produced conflicting results. In this multicenter retrospective cohort study, researchers examined the relationship between overlapping surgery and mortality, postoperative complications, and surgery duration for 66,430 surgeries between January 2010 and May 2018. Although overlapping surgery was not significantly associated with an increase in mortality or complications overall, researchers did find a significant association between overlapping surgery and increased length of surgery. An accompanying editorial discusses the role of overlapping surgery in promoting the autonomy of those in surgical training and suggests that further research is needed to settle the debate regarding the impact of overlapping surgery on patient safety.
Badgery-Parker T, Pearson S-A, Dunn S, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179:499-505.
Overuse of unnecessary tests and procedures contributes to patient harm. In this cohort study, researchers found that patients who developed a hospital-acquired condition after undergoing a procedure that most likely should not have been performed had longer lengths of stay than patients who did not develop a hospital-acquired condition.
Lawton R, Robinson O, Harrison R, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2019;28:382-388.
Risk aversion in clinical practice may lead to the ordering of unnecessary tests and procedures, a form of overuse that may pose harm to patients. Experienced clinicians may be more comfortable with uncertainty and risk than less experienced providers. In this cross-sectional study, researchers surveyed doctors working in three emergency departments to understand their level of experience and used vignettes to characterize their reactions to uncertainty and risk. They found a significant association between more clinical experience and less risk aversion as well as a significant association between more experience and greater ease with uncertainty. The authors caution that they cannot draw conclusions on how these findings impact patient safety. An accompanying editorial suggests that feedback is an important mechanism for improving confidence in clinical decision-making. A WebM&M commentary discussed risks related to overdiagnosis and medical overuse.
Pattni N, Arzola C, Malavade A, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2019;122:233-244.
Effective teamwork and communication are critical to ensuring patient safety in the busy environment of the operating room. This review examined the evidence on preparing staff to challenge authority in the perioperative environment. Common themes that affect speaking up included hierarchy, organizational culture, and education. Teaching that promotes open communication in the postgraduate environment and utilizing tactics such as simulation training can help address barriers to challenging authority.
Maternal harm is a sentinel event that has garnered increased attention in both policy and clinical environments. This qualitative study combined direct observation and interviews to understand the characteristics that enabled a high-performing maternity ward to achieve their excellent safety outcomes. Investigators identified a set of specific, evidence-based safety practices including standardization, monitoring, and emphasis on technical skill. They also identified a strong and consistent safety culture and noted that structural conditions, such as staffing levels and the physical environment, supported safe outcomes. The authors conclude that all of these factors influence each other and jointly produce safety. A recent Annual Perspective summarized national initiatives to improve safety in maternity care.
Sahlström M, Partanen P, Azimirad M, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2019;27:84-92.
This survey of medical inpatients at five academic medical centers in Finland aimed to elicit patients' perceptions of safety and experience of errors. Investigators found that encouragement from staff, education about patient safety, and comprehensible information all led to higher participation rates. The authors conclude that patients will be more engaged in their safety if frontline staff value patient involvement.
Jones TS, Black IH, Robinson TN, et al. Anesthesiology. 2019;130:492-501.
Surgical fires, though uncommon, can result in serious harm. This review highlights three components to be managed in the operating room to prevent fires: an oxidizer, an ignition source, and a fuel. The authors provide recommendations to ensure each element is handled safely.
Please select your preferred way to submit a case. Note that even if you have an account, you can still choose to submit a case as a guest. And if you do choose to submit as a logged-in user, your name will not be publicly associated with the case. Learn more information here.