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Famolaro T, Yount ND, Hare R, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; February 2019. AHRQ Publication No. 19-0027-EF.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality developed the Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture to assess safety culture in long-term care facilities. This report summarizes survey data from nearly 10,500 staff working in 191 nursing homes. Respondents reported positive perceptions of resident safety and feedback and communication about incidents. Areas needing improvement included comfort with speaking up about safety concerns and sufficient staffing. As in prior studies of safety culture, managers reported higher safety culture scores compared to frontline staff. Most respondents reported that they would recommend the facility where they worked to friends and family. A past PSNet interview explored unique issues surrounding patient safety in the nursing home population.
Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; 2019.
Drug dispensing systems have been adopted in hospitals to prevent medication errors, but accidents associated with their use still occur. This report provides comprehensive guidelines on the safe use of automated dispensing cabinets. Recommendations include improvement in areas such as stocking, labeling, and removal of expired medications.
Lau F, Bartle-Clar JA, Bliss G, et al, eds. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2019;257:1-539. ISBN: 9781614999508.
Information technology is prevalent in health care and is associated with both optimized processes and unintended consequences. This publication is a compilation of papers from an international conference that explored the potential of health information technology and the research needed to achieve success. Topics covered include usability, implementation, interoperability, and policy.
London, UK: Royal College of Surgeons of England; 2019.
Introducing innovations in practice involves taking calculated risks. To ensure patient safety, new techniques should be accompanied by training, oversight, and heightened awareness of the learning curve. This book provides a framework to guide the design and introduction of new surgical procedures into regular practice. It includes recommendations for auditing, cost assessment, and effectiveness review.
AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions Updated Baseline Rates and Preliminary Results 2014–2017.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; January 2019.
Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) represent a significant source of preventable harm to patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services financially penalizes hospitals with increased numbers of HACs through the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. This policy of nonpayment has prompted hospitals to focus significant resources on preventing HACs. This AHRQ report found a reduction in HACs from 99 per 1000 acute care discharges to 86 per 1000 discharges between 2014 and 2017, representing a decrease in 910,000 HACs and savings of $7.7 billion. Declines in certain HACs such as adverse drug events and Clostridium difficile infections were noted to be more significant as compared to others. A past WebM&M commentary highlighted the clinical significance of HACs and described an incident involving a patient who developed a pressure ulcer while in the hospital.
Washington, DC: United States Government Accountability Office; January 2019. Publication GAO-19-197.
Record matching problems can have serious clinical impacts on patients. This report explores how to optimize demographic data integrity to improve patient record matching, as identifying information is increasingly integrated into shared record keeping systems. The investigation determined strategies to improve matching such as implementing standard data formats and disseminating best practices.
Jha AK, Iliff AR, Chaoui AA, Defossez S, Bombaugh MC, Miller YA. Waltham, MA: Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Harvard Global Health Institute; 2019.
Clinician well-being affects the safety of the care environment. This publication suggests that the ramifications of physician burnout are a public health concern. The report provides an overview of the burnout crisis and recommends strategies to address the problem, including mental health initiatives, electronic health record enhancements, and appointment of chief wellness officers.
Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; January 2019.
Inaccurate or incomplete data in electronic health records can limit the effectiveness of health information technology. This guideline focuses on improvements in how medication information is formatted to support safe medication delivery. Recommended approaches include avoidance of error-prone abbreviations, use of Tall Man lettering, and required use of metric measurements to reduce risks in electronic health records, barcoding systems, smart infusion devices, and other information technologies.
Joint Commission and the American Nurses Association. Oakbrook, IL: Joint Commission Resources, Inc; 2018. ISBN: 9781635850611.
Utilizing a Systems and Design Thinking Approach for Improving Well-Being Within Health Professional Education and Health Care.
Kreitzer MJ, Carter K, Coffey DS, et al. NAM Perspectives. Washington, DC: National Academy of Medicine; 2019.
Burnout can diminish the safety of clinicians, students, health care workers, and patients. This report suggests institutions apply design thinking and systems thinking methods to develop interventions to reduce burnout and stress. A past Annual Perspective covered the impact of burnout on patient safety.
Lim R, Semple S, Ellett LK, Roughead L. Canberra, Australia: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia; 2019.
Analyzing the evidence on medication errors in Australia, this report estimates the incidence of acute care admissions, emergency department use, ambulatory adverse events, and elderly patients affected by medication-related problems. Pharmacists are emphasized as pivotal to medication safety improvement efforts.
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Care Quality Commission; December 2018.
The term never events was originally coined to describe rare, devastating, and preventable events. This report provides an analysis of National Health Service (NHS) efforts to optimize use of alerts, guidance, and recommendations to prevent never events. The investigation found that NHS staff feel unsupported by training, challenged by complex processes of care to practice safely, and uncertainty regarding improvement roles at the system level.
Executive Board EB144/29 144th session. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; December 12, 2018.
This guidance summarizes the current status of global patient safety, highlights World Health Organization efforts to address the problem, and provides direction for WHO leadership and policy makers to achieve improvements in safety. Recommendations include universal health coverage, coordination of efforts, and dissemination of effective practices.
Oakbrook Terrance, IL: Joint Commission; 2018. ISBN: 9781635850598.
Checklists are a widely accepted strategy to improve communication and standardize processes to support reliability. This publication includes information on what makes a checklist useful and provides numerous checklist templates that focus on tasks in areas such as medication management, performance improvement, and infection control that can be implemented in various settings.
Daley Ullem E, Gandhi TK, Mate K, Whittington J, Renton M, Huebner J. IHI White Paper. Boston, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2018.
The role of hospital boards in influencing and financing efforts to improve safety is of recognized importance. However, leaders must have the skills and mindset needed to understand and perform quality governance responsibilities. This report provides a framework drawn from the Institute of Medicine six elements of quality to clarify responsibilities of trustees and health system leaders with regard to quality oversight.
Levinson DR. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; November 2018. Report No. OEI-06-14-00530.
Frail populations cared for in long-term care facilities are at high risk for adverse events. This report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) analyzed Medicare data from 2008 to 2016 to determine the prevalence of adverse events in long-term care facilities and the resultant harm to residents. Nearly half of patients experienced adverse events or temporary harm events. A significant proportion of these events were considered serious, meaning that they led to prolonged stay, transfer to acute care, provision of life-saving intervention, or resulted in permanent harm or death. More than half of these events were found to be preventable and were attributed either to error or substandard care. The OIG recommends that patient safety efforts undertaken by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services specifically address long-term care facilities. A past WebM&M commentary discussed safety and quality of long-term care.
Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs.
Washington, DC: Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; November 28, 2018.
Clinician burnout is a persistent threat to patient safety, and electronic health records have been identified as a high-profile contributor to the problem. This call for public comments on a draft report seeks insights on specific goals and recommended strategies to address the issue. The approaches outlined focus on reducing the time burden associated with frontline electronic health record use. The option for submitting comments is closed.
Nurse staffing levels, missed vital signs and mortality in hospitals: retrospective longitudinal observational study.
Griffiths P, Ball J, Bloor K, et al. Health Services and Delivery Research. Southampton, UK: NIHR Journals Library; 2018.
Missed nursing care has been linked to safety problems, but ensuring reliable levels of nurse staffing remains challenging. This report provides the results of a 3-year investigation into whether tracking of vital signs by nursing staff could serve as a viable measure for safe patient coverage. The report identified correlations between low staffing, missed vital sign observation, length of stay, and likelihood of mortality. However, record review found no direct relationship between safety and staffing levels. A PSNet perspective examined the relationship between missed nursing care and patient safety.
Howard J. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland; 2019. ISBN: 9783319932231.
Cognitive biases contribute to diagnostic missteps, delays, and errors. This publication uses case-based illustrations to explore the effect of common cognitive biases (e.g., confirmation, anchoring, and overconfidence) on care. The author suggests feedback, healthy skepticism, and open discussion as tactics to reduce errors stemming from bias in decision-making.
Pedersen KZ. London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan; 2018. ISBN: 9781137537850.
The book suggests that though a systems orientation to safety improvement is the correct approach, it can be complex and difficult to operationalize. The author explores the unintended influences of blame-free methodologies, challenges the belief that fixing the system will prevent all error, and cautions health care to moderate patient engagement efforts.