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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Neily J, Mills PD, Eldridge N, et al. Arch Surg. 2011;146:1235-9.
This analysis of incorrect surgical procedures in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system found an overall decline in the number of reported wrong-site, wrong-patient, and wrong-procedure errors compared with the authors' prior study. As in the earlier report, half of the incorrect procedures occurred outside of the operating room. Root cause analyses of errors revealed that lack of standardization and human factors issues were major contributing factors. During the time period of this study, the VA implemented a teamwork training program that has been associated with a significant decline in surgical mortality. The authors propose that additional, focused team training may be one solution to this persistent problem.
Efforts to prevent wrong-site and wrong-patient surgical errors (WSPEs) initially focused on procedural disciplines and operating room procedures. However, this analysis of WSPEs that were voluntarily reported to a Colorado malpractice insurance company database found that a significant proportion of WSPEs were committed by physicians in non-surgical fields (such as internal medicine). Root cause analysis revealed a number of contributing causes, with diagnostic errors and communication errors the primary culprits. Interestingly, the injured patients did not file a malpractice lawsuit in the vast majority of cases. This study confirms and extends prior research showing that many WSPEs actually occur outside the operating room. The authors call for strict adherence to the Joint Commission Universal Protocol in order to prevent these never events.
Shah RK, Nussenbaum B, Kienstra M, et al. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010;143:37-41.
This survey of otolaryngologists found that many respondents had personal experience with wrong-site surgery. Incorrectly labeled or inverted radiographic images were frequently implicated as a contributing cause.
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