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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.
Chen Y-F, Armoiry X, Higenbottam C, et al. BMJ Open. 2019;9:e025764.
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.
Braun SE, Kinser PA, Rybarczyk B. Transl Behav Med. 2019;9:187-201.
Mindfulness supports reliability, team performance, and resilience. This literature analysis assessed the evidence on how mindfulness affects patient safety, treatment outcomes, and patient-centered care. The review revealed moderate influences on the overall ability of clinicians to provide effective care, but the authors conclude that further research is needed.
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.
Busch IM, Moretti F, Purgato M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:e61-e74.
The second victim phenomenon refers to the emotional impact adverse events and patient harm can have on health care team members, including physicians and nurses. This meta-analysis sought to quantify psychological and psychosomatic symptoms experienced by second victims. Researchers identified 18 studies and found that embarrassment, guilt, regret, self-recrimination, anxiety, fear of future errors, reliving the incident, and difficulty sleeping were the most common symptoms. These results underscore how involvement in errors can have detrimental consequences for provider well-being. The authors recommend both preventive programs and postevent support for health care workers after medical errors. A PSNet interview with Albert Wu, who coined the term second victim, discussed approaches to address this safety issue.
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.
Smulyan H. Am J Med. 2019;132:153-160.
Misinterpretations of critical tests can lead to diagnostic delays and patient harm. This review suggests combining computerized and human analysis of electrocardiogram results to enhance test interpretation accuracy and effectiveness.
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.
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.
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.
Lynn LA. Patient Saf Surg. 2019;13:6.
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.
Rosenbaum L. N Engl J Med. 2019;380:684-688.
Breakdowns in communication and teamwork are common contributors to adverse events and can compromise safety. As medical care becomes more complex, more teams and subspecialists are involved in a patient's care, which may lead to fragmentation of care and a lack of clear ownership. This three-part series on teamwork highlights the challenges surrounding interprofessional communication and collaboration in today's health care environment, with an emphasis on the resultant adverse effects for patients. The first commentary describes a scenario in which many consultants were carefully considering a patient's case but were not communicating effectively with one another. The second commentary underscores how psychological safety can facilitate improved collaboration and error disclosure among teams. In the third part of the series, the author points out that although the practice of medicine is highly dependent on effective teamwork, medical culture continues to emphasize and even heroize the individual to its own detriment. The author suggests that further research is necessary to achieve optimal teamwork in medicine. A PSNet interview discussed the importance of leadership and teamwork in health care.
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.
Liberati EG, Tarrant C, Willars J, et al. Soc Sci Med. 2019;223:64-72.
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.
Ratwani RM, Reider J, Singh H. JAMA. 2019;321:743-744.
Health information technology (IT) usability problems can affect patient safety. This commentary offers strategies to reduce the potential for unintended consequences associated with health IT. Recommendations include instituting a national registry of usability issues, establishing design standards, addressing unintended harms, simplifying documentation requirements, and developing standard measures for usability and safety.