Narrow Results Clear All
- Communication Improvement 7
- Culture of Safety 1
- Education and Training 5
- Error Reporting and Analysis 14
- Human Factors Engineering 3
- Legal and Policy Approaches
- Quality Improvement Strategies 8
- Research Directions 1
- Teamwork 1
- Technologic Approaches 4
- Transparency and Accountability 1
- Device-related Complications 3
- Discontinuities, Gaps, and Hand-Off Problems 3
- Identification Errors 15
- Medical Complications 8
- Medication Safety 4
- Psychological and Social Complications 3
- Surgical Complications
- Transfusion Complications 1
- Health Care Executives and Administrators 19
Health Care Providers
- Nurses 2
- Non-Health Care Professionals 12
- Patients 16
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Cases & Commentaries
- Web M&M
Todd Sagin, MD, JD; March 2006
Despite formal investigation of complications in past cases, a senior surgeon is still allowed to operate on a patient, with disastrous results.
Perspectives on Safety > Perspective
with commentary by Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, The Transformation of Patient Safety at the VA, September 2006
Five years after the landmark Crossing the Quality Chasm report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the quality and safety of health care in the United States remains far from ideal.(1) It is easy to feel pessimistic. Can health care organizations really...
Klein A. The Washington Post. December 30, 2005:A3.
This article reports on incidents in which patients were exposed to a rare brain disease after contaminated surgical instruments were used during their brain surgeries.
Baltimore, MD: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Public Affairs; May 18, 2006.
This fact sheet provides information regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' initiative to better understand and minimize never events.
Journal Article > Commentary
Watson DS. AORN J. 2006;84:273-275.
The author discusses recommended policies and practices for minimizing the risk of retained foreign objects.
Brandeland GP. Med Econ. 2006 Oct 20;83:50, 52-53.
This author shares his experience as a young physician dealing with the aftermath of a medical error and how the incident affected his practice, his personal relationships, and the patient's family.
St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health; March 2019.
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 2018 report summarizes information about 384 adverse events that were reported and found pressure ulcers and invasive procedure events increased, while fall-related deaths decreased. Reports from previous years are also available.
McCarty JF. Plain Dealer. January 16, 2007:A1.
This article reports on an incident of a retained foreign object discovered years after a patient's death, as well as the subsequent lawsuit.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL: The Joint Commission; March 2007.
This report reveals that the overall quality of care delivered by US hospitals improved steadily between 2003 and 2005, as measured by adherence to evidence-based treatments for myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia. Adherence to the Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals, which include measures to prevent wrong-site surgery and promote medication reconciliation, was also measured. Although results on these measures showed a more mixed picture, the report cautions that changes in measurement during the study period limit interpretability of the results.
Journal Article > Review
Achieving the National Quality Forum's "Never Events": prevention of wrong site, wrong procedure, and wrong patient operations.
Michaels RK, Makary MA, Dahab Y, et al. Ann Surg. 2007;245:526-532.
Wrong site operations are rare and often occur when systems to prevent them fail. This study reviewed existing prevention strategies, such as the Joint Commission's Universal Protocol, to develop a framework for hospitals to assess their wrong site event prevention efforts. The proposed framework asks whether a behaviorally specific policy has been enacted and whether staff understand the policy, and goes on to recommend directly observing the policy being put into practice. The authors advocate standardized interventions utilizing effective methods to measure safety. A previous Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) WebM&M commentary discusses factors that place patients at risk for wrong site surgery.
Kowalczyk L. Boston Globe. October 26, 2007;Metro section:1A.
This article investigates the causes of surgical errors reported in recent years by Massachusetts hospitals, and identifies team training and instrument bar-coding as solutions for improvement.
Associated Press. MSNBC. November 27, 2007.
This news article reports repeated incidents of wrong-side surgery at the same facility, and state and hospital reactions to the errors.
Journal Article > Commentary
Pronovost PJ, Goeschel CA, Wachter RM. JAMA. 2008;299:2197-2199.
In October 2008, Medicare will put into effect a new policy that withholds payment for eight preventable complications of care, with plans already in place to expand this list in 2009. This initiative has prompted several discussions in the safety community, ranging from the business case for adopting such a policy to whether any of the targeted conditions can be accurately identified as present on admission. This commentary further explores the basis of Medicare's efforts and focuses on criteria that should be considered when withholding payment for complications of care. The authors provide a framework that requires each proposed complication to be important, measurable, and truly preventable to meet the burden of proof for inclusion. Only foreign objects retained after surgery and catheter-related blood stream infections serve as "wise and just" complications based on their assessment. While the authors acknowledge the opportunity for Medicare to align payment incentives and stimulate improvements in quality and reduce costs, they caution against rapid adoption and a failure to carefully evaluate the benefits and risks of the initiative.
Smith S. Boston Globe. July 30, 2008;Metro section:1A.
This article reports on the incidence of wrong site surgeries in Massachusetts and describes complex factors that may contribute to such errors occurring in spinal surgery.
Journal Article > Study
Rhodes P, Giles SJ, Cook GA, et al. Qual Saf Health Care. 2008;17:409-415.
Wrong-site surgery is a rare yet devastating outcome. Prevention strategies have focused on adoption of the Joint Commission's Universal Protocol and structured communication tools such as time outs. This study examined the impact of a national safety alert issued to all NHS hospital trusts in England and Wales about preventing wrong-site surgery. Investigators interviewed surgeons and senior nurses in the 12-15 months following the alert and discovered significant variation in the adoption of proposed recommendations. While the alert was associated with greater awareness and surgical marking of sites, the authors discuss the complex nature of change management around the new policy. A related commentary [see link below] discusses the broader context of efforts to eliminate wrong-site surgery. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed the factors contributing to a near-miss wrong-site surgery, and a recent commentary outlined the anatomy of a time out.
National Patient Safety Agency. London, UK: National Reporting and Learning Service; 2009.
This report from the United Kingdom is intended to guide Primary Care Trusts in implementing never events policies for 2009-2010.
Journal Article > Study
Cima RR, Kollengode A, Storsveen AS, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2009;35:123-132.
Web Resource > Multi-use Website
The Joint Commission.
The Joint Commission has traditionally focused on accreditation of health care organizations and, through its Joint Commission Resources arm, on quality improvement (QI) in areas related to its accreditation functions. In the first major initiative under the leadership of new president Dr. Mark Chassin, The Joint Commission launched this Center, which will focus on applying rigorous QI methods to improve safety in a number of challenging areas (the first three are hand hygiene, handoff communication, and preventing wrong site surgery) and disseminating the lessons from these efforts. This Web site provides more information about the Center and its goals.
Cohen E. Empowered Patient. CNN.com. November 13, 2009.
This news story describes an incident of patient misidentification and offers tips to help patients confirm their care during a hospitalization.
Altman LK. New York Times. December 11, 2001;1:1.
This news piece reports on wrong-site and wrong-patient surgery and describes efforts to prevent surgical errors following a Joint Commission sentinel event alert on the topic.