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Tools/Toolkit > Fact Sheet/FAQs
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Revised December 2009. AHRQ Publication No. 10-M008.
This tip sheet provides 10 practical steps hospitals can undertake to improve patient safety, based on research funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The tips can be grouped into three areas: 1) reducing health care-acquired infections and retained surgical instruments through use of specific clinical practices; 2) improving drug safety by ensuring access to accurate drug information; and 3) improving the culture of safety through appropriate staffing and work hours for nurses and residents. These tips are based on high-quality research studies documenting the effectiveness of these interventions at reducing errors and improving safety for a broad range of patients.
Journal Article > Commentary
Collins Sharp BA, Clancy CM. J Nurs Care Qual. 2008;23:97-100.
This AHRQ commentary describes research findings linking nurses' working environment (including organizational climate, staffing, overtime, and fatigue) to patient outcomes.
Journal Article > Study
Landrigan CP, Czeisler CA, Barger LK, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2007;33(suppl 1):19-29.
Efforts to comply with resident work-hour restrictions have placed a significant burden on hospitals and training programs, particularly in addressing the impact of these restrictions on patient safety. This AHRQ-supported study provides a framework to address the scheduling practices that aim to minimize sleep deprivation, optimize teamwork, and promote patient safety. The authors share a number of case examples and discuss policy implications around developing evidence-based scheduling and systematic culture change. This study's lead author, Dr. Christopher Landrigan, was featured in a past AHRQ WebM&M conversation that discussed the role of sleep deprivation in residency training and its effect on medical errors.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. September 27, 2006.
This podcast features an interview with Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Director Carolyn Clancy discussing several AHRQ-funded studies on lack of sleep, fatigue, and medical error.
Journal Article > Study
Rogers AE, Hwang WT, Scott LD, Aiken LH, Dinges DF. Health Aff (Millwood). 2004;23:202-212.
This AHRQ-funded study demonstrated that the risk of error increased in association with extended work shifts, overtime, or longer than 40-hour work weeks. Using logbooks from nearly 400 nurses sampled out of a larger group from the American Nurses Association, investigators determined that an alarmingly high percentage of nurses report working extended hours. For those shifts longer than 12.5 hours, the error rate increased notably. The authors advocate for continued attention to relationships between nursing work hours and patient safety, building on past research that linked staffing to poor patient outcomes.