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Journal Article > Study
Wakefield DS, Wakefield BJ, Despins L, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2012;38:24-33.
Verbal orders, usually for medications, are commonly used in the inpatient setting despite being a recognized source of error. This survey of 40 hospitals found wide variation in hospital policies regarding verbal orders, with no uniform standard on which providers were allowed to give or receive verbal orders and varying approaches to documenting these orders. Although specific methods, such as read-backs, are endorsed for improving the reliability of verbal orders, few hospitals specifically mandated the use of these communication tools. A case of a misunderstood verbal order that led to a serious error is discussed in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.
Journal Article > Commentary
Benjamin L, Frush K, Shaw K, Shook JE, Snow SK; American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Emergency Physicians; Emergency Nurses Association. Ann Emerg Med. 2018;71:e17-e24.
Emergency departments harbor conditions that can hinder safe medication administration for pediatric patients. This policy statement identifies and prioritizes improvements such as implementing kilogram-only weight-based dosing, involving pharmacists in frontline emergency care, and utilizing computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support systems.
Journal Article > Government Resource
García MC, Dodek AB, Kowalski T, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:1125-1131.
Adverse drug events related to opioid medications are a significant patient safety concern. This analysis of insurer claims data demonstrated that changing opioid prescribing requirements, including implementing patient–provider agreements, requiring prior authorization, and enforcing quantity limits, led to a decline in opioid prescribing. The authors recommend that insurers implement policies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opioid guidelines to improve safety.
Journal Article > Study
Howard R, Waljee J, Brummett C, Englesbe M, Lee J. JAMA Surg. 2018;153:285-287.
This pre–post study examined the effect of implementing an evidence-based opioid prescribing guideline following cholecystectomy surgery. After guideline implementation, the average number of opioid pills per prescription declined, but no increase in refill requests occurred. More patients were prescribed nonopioid pain medications after guideline implementation than before. These promising results suggest a path toward reducing the use of these high-risk medications.
Award > Award Announcement
APSF Committee on Technology. Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation.
Medication errors in anesthesia practice can be result in serious patient harm. This award will recognize organizations that have focused on improving anesthesiology medication delivery through process standardization, information technology use, medication management, and safety culture. The award submission process is now closed.
Journal Article > Study
Association of the use of a mandatory prescription drug monitoring program with prescribing practices for patients undergoing elective surgery.
Stucke RS, Kelly JL, Mathis KA, Hill MV, Barth RJ. JAMA Surg. 2018;153:1105-1110.
Many states are implementing prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in an attempt to curb the ongoing opioid epidemic. This single-center study examined the effect of a New Hampshire policy that mandates clinicians use a PDMP and an opioid risk assessment tool prior to prescribing opioids. No impact was found on overall opioid prescribing rates. However, a recent state-level analysis found that states who implemented a PDMP had lower opioid prescribing rates compared to states without PDMPs. A PSNet perspective discussed the factors that contributed to the opioid epidemic and proposed solutions.
Mix-ups between epidural analgesia and IV antibiotics in labor and delivery units continue to cause harm.
ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. October 4, 2018;23:1-4.
Increased urgency to prevent maternal mortality has uncovered various factors that diminish safety. This newsletter article reports on incidents involving the accidental misuse of epidural analgesia and intravenous antibiotics in labor and delivery care, describes contributing factors (e.g., health technology missteps, barcoding mistakes, and look-alike medications), and offers improvement strategies to mitigate harm.
ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. November 1, 2018;23:1-5. November 15, 2018;23:1-5.
Errors in the administration of intravenous medications can result in patient harm. This set of articles discusses the results of a nationwide IV push medication survey. The first article reviews unsafe practices in care delivery as defined by inpatient clinicians. The second article recommends ways to improve practice such as assessment of current practices, use of prefilled syringes, and heightened attention to effective labeling.
Journal Article > Review
Barr D, Epps QJ. J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2019;47:146-154.
Anticoagulants are commonly prescribed medications that have high potential for harm if administered incorrectly. This review summarizes common errors at the prescribing, dispensing, and administration phases of direct oral anticoagulant therapy. The authors suggest team-based strategies—such as process assessment, policy development, and medication reconciliation—to prevent adverse drug events associated with direct oral anticoagulants.