The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
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.
Vance ME, Proctor T, Schmidt KA. AORN J. 2021;113:635-642.
The perioperative setting is a high-risk environment. This continuing education model discusses safety threats and evidence-based best practices to deliver nursing care in perioperative settings and promote a culture of safety.
Olivarius‐McAllister J, Pandit M, Sykes A, et al. Anaesthesia. 2021;76:1616-1624.
UK Regulators measure never events to assess hospital safety culture and dictate reimbursement. The authors suggest that regulators focus on reducing the national never event rate through shared learning and an integrated system-wide approach, rather than concentrating on underperforming, outlier hospitals where factors such as safety culture maybe contributing to increased rates of never events.
Omar I, Singhal R, Wilson M, et al. Int J Qual Health Care. 2021;33:mzab045.
Never events, a significant type of adverse event, should never occur in healthcare. This study analyzed 797 surgical never events that occurred from April 2012 to February 2020 in the National Health Service (NHS) England and categorized them into three main categories: wrong-site surgery (53.58%), retained items post-procedure (44.54%), and wrong implant/prosthesis (1.88%). In total 56 common general surgery never events have been found. Being aware of the common themes may help providers to develop more effective strategies to prevent these adverse events.
Yonash RA, Taylor M. Patient Safety. 2020;2:24-39.
Wrong-site surgeries can lead to serious patient harm and are considered never events by the National Quality Forum. Based on events reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System between 2015 and 2019, the authors identified an average of 1.42 wrong-site surgery events per week and found that three-quarters of events resulted in temporary or permanent patient harm. The authors present several evidence-based strategies to reduce the likelihood of wrong-site surgery, including preoperative and intraoperative verification, site marking, and timeouts.
The list of never events has expanded over time to include adverse events that are unambiguous, serious, and usually preventable. While most are rare, when never events occur, they are devastating to patients and indicate serious underlying organizational safety problems.
This retrospective study of dental patient safety reports in the military health system demonstrated an increase in reported events, which may reflect improvements in safety culture. Wrong-site surgery was the most common adverse event, suggesting the need to enhance safety practices in dentistry.
Anoushiravani AA, Sayeed Z, El-Othmani MM, et al. Orthop Clin North Am. 2016;47:689-95.
High reliability organizations have developed methods for achieving safety despite hazardous conditions. This review explores the importance of establishing a culture of safety and leadership commitment to achieve high reliability in health care. The authors discuss the benefits of applying high reliability principles in orthopedic practice to standardize approaches and prevent wrong-site surgery.
Boston, MA: Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction; 2016.
Cataract surgery, one of the most common procedures in the United States, is vulnerable to wrong-site errors. This consensus report reviews the types of errors associated with cataract surgery and discusses evidence-based practices to reduce risks.
Shah RK, Boss EF, Brereton J, et al. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014;150:779-784.
This survey of otolaryngologists found very little overall progress in self-reported patient safety errors compared with a similar survey in 2004. For instance, wrong-site surgeries continue to occur despite garnering major attention over the past decade and being classified as a never event.
Pikkel D, Sharabi-Nov A, Pikkel J. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2014;7:77-80.
In this study, cataract surgeons were asked to identify the correct eye for surgery when given the patient's name only, and again while looking at the patient's face. The surgeons answered incorrectly approximately a quarter of the time, arguing for the importance of preoperative time outs to avoid wrong-site surgery.
Mehtsun WT, Ibrahim AM, Diener-West M, et al. Surgery. 2013;153:465-472.
More than a decade ago, stories of wrong site surgeries and retained surgical objects galvanized the patient safety movement. Despite public uproar and attention focused on these never events, such incidents continue to occur at alarming rates. This study found that surgeons make these mistakes more than 4000 times per year in the United States. Related malpractice payments have amounted to more than $1.3 billion over the last 20 years. Although this financial burden is substantial, it may pale in comparison to the degree of patient harm resulting from these preventable errors. An incident of wrong-site surgery is discussed in an AHRQ WebM&M commentary.
Deviations from the previously agreed upon perioperative care plan were associated with an increased risk of adverse events during surgery. Unplanned changes in surgical procedures have been previously associated with higher risk for retained surgical instruments.
Algie CM, Mahar RK, Wasiak J, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;3):CD009404.
Wrong-site surgery is considered a never event, and therefore hospitals have been required to implement protocols to prevent these errors. This systematic review did not identify any high-quality studies of successful methods to prevent wrong-site, wrong-patient, or wrong-procedure errors.
Department of Health of Western Australia, Patient Safety Directorate. Perth: Department of Health WA; 2011.
This report shares the 2010-2011 results of Western Australia's sentinel event reporting program. Patient suicide is the highest recorded sentinel event. The data is placed in the context of the overall data collected since the program's launch in 2003.
Mallett R, Conroy M, Saslaw LZ, et al. Am J Med Qual. 2012;27:21-9.
After several episodes of incorrect surgical procedures, a medical center conducted individual root cause analyses and summarized the findings to identify common causes of each individual error. These findings were used to implement systematic prevention measures.
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