Krenzischek DA, Card E, Mamaril M, et al. J Perianesth Nurs. 2022;Epub Apr 27.
Patients and caregivers are important partners in promoting safe care. Findings from this cross-sectional study reinforce the importance of patients’ perceived roles in ensuring safe surgery and highlight the importance of patient engagement in mitigating surgical site errors.
Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; June 3, 2021.
Wrong site/wrong patent surgery is a persistent healthcare never event. This report examines National Health Service (NHS) reporting data to identify how ambulatory patient identification errors contribute to wrong patient care. The authors recommend that the NHS use human factors methods to design control processes to target and manage the risks in the outpatient environment such as lack of technology integration, shared waiting area space, and reliance on verbal communication at clinic.
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 Joint Commission and National Quality Forum both consider wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgeries to be never events. Despite improvement approaches ranging from the Universal Protocol to nonpayment for the procedures themselves and any consequent care, these serious surgical errors continue to occur. This study measured the incidence of incorrect surgeries in Veterans Health Administration medical centers from 2010 to 2017. Surgical patient safety events resulting in harm were rare and declined by more than two-thirds from 2000 to 2017. Dentistry, ophthalmology, and neurosurgery had the highest incidence of in–operating room adverse events. Root cause analysis revealed that 29% of events could have been prevented with a correctly performed time-out. A WebM&M commentary examined an incident involving a wrong-side surgery.
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.
Alam M, Lee A, Ibrahimi OA, et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150:550-8.
Excisional skin cancer surgery is a common procedure often performed many days after an initial biopsy by a different physician, making it particularly vulnerable to wrong-site surgery. This study provides a range of consensus recommendations for medical professionals and patients to reduce such risks.
Following biopsies for two skin lesions on his left cheek, a patient was sent to an outside surgeon for excision of squamous cell carcinoma. Although the referral included a description and diagram, the wrong lesion was removed.
Shah RK, Arjmand E, Roberson DW, et al. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137:69-73.
This study surveyed clinicians and discovered significant variation in their time-out and site-marking procedures in daily practice. The authors highlight the dynamic tension between national regulations and local interpretations of such policies.
Neily J, Mills PD, Eldridge N, et al. Arch Surg. 2009;144:1028-34.
Wrong-patient and wrong-site surgeries are considered never events, as they are devastating errors that arise from serious underlying safety problems. This study used Veterans Administration data to analyze the broader concept of "incorrect" surgical procedures, including near misses and errors in procedures performed outside the operating room (for example, in interventional radiology). Root cause analysis was used to identify underlying safety problems. Errors occurred in virtually all specialties that perform procedures. The authors found that many cases could be attributed in part to poor communication that may not have been addressed by preoperative time-outs; for example, several cases in which surgical implants were unavailable would have required communication well before the day of surgery. The authors argue for teamwork training based on crew resource management principles to address these serious errors.
Lee JS, Curley AW, Smith RA, et al. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2007;65:1793-9.
This article discusses strategies to prevent wrong-site tooth extraction including education, improving referral forms, and standardizing preoperative procedures. A prior AHRQ WebM&M commentary also discussed this topic.
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 2020 report summarizes information about 366 adverse events that were reported, representing a slight increase each year since the reports were first published. Pressure ulcers and fall-related injuries were the most common incidents documented. Reports from previous years are available.
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