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St Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health.
The National Quality Forum has defined 29 never events—patient safety problems that should never occur, such as wrong-site surgery and patient falls. Since 2003, Minnesota hospitals have been required to report such incidents. The 2021 report summarizes information about 508 adverse events that were reported, representing a significant increase in the year covered. Earlier reports document a fairly consistent count of adverse events. The rise reflected here is likely due to demands on staffing and care processes associated with COVID-19. Pressure ulcers and fall-related injuries were the most common incidents documented. Reports from previous years are available.
Burns ML, Saager L, Cassidy RB, et al. JAMA Surg. 2022;Epub Jul 20.
Anesthesiologists often must oversee multiple surgeries. This study evaluated adult patients from 23 US academic and private hospitals who underwent major surgery between 2010, and 2017, to examine anesthesiologist staffing ratios against patient morbidity and mortality. The authors categorized the staffing into four groups based on the number of operations the anesthesiologist was covering. The study found that increased anesthesiologist coverage was associated with greater risk-adjusted morbidity and mortality of surgical patients. Hospitals should consider evaluating anesthesiology staffing to determine potential increased risks.
Weston M, Chiodo C. AORN J. 2022;115:569-575.
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.
Kepner S, Jones RM. Patient Safety. 2022;4:18-33.
Acute care facilities in Pennsylvania are required to report all Incidents and Serious Events to the state’s Patient Safety Authority. This study updates the 2020 report. Similar to prior reports, Error Related to Procedure/Treatment/Test remained the most commonly reported events, followed by Medication Error, Complication of Procedure/Treatment/Test, and Fall.
Bicket MC, Waljee JF, Hilliard P. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3:e221356.
Concern for improved prescribing of opiates motivated the development of programs and policies that have inadvertently caused new problems. This commentary discusses the impact of nonopioid use during surgery as a patient preference. It discusses the potential for adverse impacts of the strategy while recognizing the unique situation of perioperative use of pain medications.
Abdelmalak BB, Adhami T, Simmons W, et al. Anesth Analg. 2022;135:198-208.
A 2009 CMS Condition of Participation (CoP) requires that a director of anesthesia services assume overall responsibility for anesthesia administered in the hospital, including procedural sedation provided by nonanesthesiologists. This article reviews the CoP as it relates to procedural sedation, lays out a framework for implementing this role, and describes challenges of implementation in a large health system.

Farnborough, UK; Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; May 26, 2022.

Surgical equipment sterilization can be hampered by equipment design, production pressures, process complexity and policy misalignment. This report examines a case of unclean surgical instrument use. It recommends external sterile service assessment and competency review as steps toward improving the reliability of instrument decontamination processes in the National Health Service.
Sun EC, Mello MM, Vaughn MT, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182:720-728.
Physician fatigue can inhibit decision-making and contribute to poor performance. This cross-sectional study examined surgical procedures performed between January 2010 and August 2020 across 20 high-volume hospitals in the United States to determine the association between surgeon fatigue, operating overnight and outcomes for operations performed by the same surgeon the next day. No significant associations were found between overnight surgeries and surgical outcomes for procedures performed the next day.

Ehrenwerth J. UptoDate. May 25, 2022.

Operating room fires are never events that, while rare, still harbor great potential for harm. This review discusses settings prone to surgical fire events, prevention strategies, and care management steps should patients be harmed by an operating room fire.
Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. Harrisburg, PA: Patient Safety Authority; April 2022.
This report summarizes patient safety improvement work in the state of Pennsylvania and reviews the 2021 activities of the Patient Safety Authority, including the Agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, video programs, liaison efforts, publication programs, and the launch of a new learning management system.
Armstrong BA, Dutescu IA, Nemoy L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:463-478.
Despite widespread use of surgical safety checklists (SSC), its success in improving patient outcomes remains inconsistent, potentially due to variations in implementation and completion methods. This systematic review sought to identify how many studies describe the ways in which the SSC was implemented and completed, and the impact on provider outcomes, patient outcomes, and moderating factors. A clearer positive relationship was seen for provider outcomes (e.g., communication) than for patient outcomes (e.g., mortality).

A psychologically safe environment for healthcare teams is desirable for optimal team performance, team member well-being, and favorable patient safety outcomes. This piece explores facilitators of and barriers to psychological safety across healthcare settings. Future research directions examining psychological safety in healthcare are discussed.

Emond YEJJM, Calsbeek H, Peters YAS, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2022;128:562-573.
A necessary part of successful implementation of new guidelines is ensuring continued adherence. Nine Dutch hospitals implemented a multifaceted program (IMPlementatie Richtlijnen Operatieve VEiligheid [IMPROVE]) to support application of surgical guidelines. Results of guideline use were mixed.

Ryan M, Mekel M, Sinha MS. UptoDate. November 30, 2021

Error disclosure is fundamental to addressing harm and psychological distress after medical error. This review highlights issues associated with surgical error disclosure. It summarizes literature covering legal and ethical issues, honest apology, and skill development to ensure apology communications are effective.

This case involves a 2-year-old girl with acute myelogenous leukemia and thrombocytopenia (platelet count 26,000 per microliter) who underwent implantation of a central venous catheter with a subcutaneous port. The anesthetist asked the surgeon to order a platelet transfusion to increase the child’s platelet count to above 50,000 per microliter. In the post-anesthesia care unit, the patient’s arterial blood pressure started fluctuating and she developed cardiac arrest.

Warner MA, Warner ME. Anesthesiology. 2021;135:963-974.
The legacy of anesthesiology as a leader in patient safety is reviewed as a model for other communities seeking to reduce medical error. The authors highlight the collaboration strategies that the specialty embraced as a key component of its success.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices

The perioperative setting is a high-risk area for medication errors, should they occur. This assessment provides hospitals and outpatient surgical providers a tool to examine their medication use processes and share data nationwide for comparison. Organizational participation can identify strengths and gaps in their systems to design opportunities that prevent patient harm. 
Malahias M-A, Antoniadou T, Jang SJ, et al. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2021;29:e1387-e1395.
Previous research has raised concerns about safety risks associated with overlapping surgery, defined as two procedures performed concurrently, but where critical surgical portions of each procedure occur at different times. Based on a meta-analysis of six articles, the authors of this systematic review found that rates of surgical complications readmissions were similar among overlapping and nonoverlapping surgery in patients undergoing total joint arthroscopy.
Hammond Mobilio M, Paradis E, Moulton C-A. Am J Surg. 2022;223:1105-1111.
Surgical safety checklists (SSC) have been adopted around the world, but reported compliance rates and use in practice vary widely. This study in one Canadian hospital showed the SSC was used in 82% of Briefings, 76% of Time-Outs, and 22% of Debriefings. Gaps between policy and practice were identified and implications for policy makers, administrators, frontline clinicians, and researchers are discussed.