Skip to main content

Toolkits

Patient safety toolkits provide practical applications of PSNet research and concepts for front line providers to use in their day to day work. These toolkits contain resources necessary to implement patient safety systems and protocols.

Latest Toolkits

Food and Drug Administration and Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Plymouth Meeting, PA; Institute for Safe Medication Practices; January 2023.
Mistakes associated with look-alike medication names are a safety concern in health care. Tall man, or mixed case, lettering is one recommended strategy to reduce confusion associated with similarities in drug names. This list includes medications recognized by clinicians and professional organizations as those suited for the application of mixed case lettering to make their use safer.

Collaborative for Accountability and Improvement Policy Committee. Seattle, WA: University of Washington; 2022

Communication and resolution programs (CRP) show promise for improving patient and clinician communication after a harmful preventable adverse event. This tool provides a framework for organizational messaging on CRPs for patients and families.
Multi-use Website
Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
This website provides resources for promoting patient safety during Patient Safety Awareness Week. The 2023 observance will be held March 12-18. 
Yount N, Edelman S, Sorra J, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; November 2022. AHRQ Publication No. 23-0011.
Improving the culture of safety within health care is an essential component of preventing or reducing errors. Designed for users of the AHRQ safety culture surveys, this updated tool will help organizations develop an action plan and proactively discuss potential barriers to safety culture improvement efforts and how to address them. The revision is structured around a 3-step process that focuses on areas to improve, initiative planning, and plan communication. The kit now includes an action plan template.

All Toolkits (36)

Displaying 1 - 20 of 36 Results
Tools/Toolkit

RA-UK, the Faculty of Pain Medicine, RCoA Simulation and NHS Improvement

Standardization is a common strategy for preventing practice deviations that can contribute to harm. This tool outlines a three-step process for minimizing the occurrence of wrong-side peripheral nerve blocks that involves preparing for the procedure, stopping to perform a two-person site confirmation, and then administering the block.
Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; 2022.
This updated report outlines 19 consensus-based best practices to ensure safe medication administration, such as diluted solutions of vincristine in minibags and standardized metrics for patient weight. The set of recommended practices has been reviewed and updated every two years since it was first developed in 2014 to include actions related to eliminating the prescribing of fentanyl patches for acute pain and use of information about medication safety risks from other organizations to motivate improvement efforts. The 2022 update includes new practices that are associated with oxytocin, barcode verification in vaccine administration, and high-alert medications. 
Horsham, PA: Institute of Safe Medication Practices; 2021
Long-term care patients often have concurrent conditions that increase their risk of medication error. This fact sheet provides a list of potential high-alert medications prevalent in long-term care settings that should be administered with particular care due to the heightened potential for harm. A past PSNet perspective discussed medication safety in nursing homes.
Canadian Patient Safety Institute: 2019.
Structured approaches to managing negative psychological consequences of medical errors on health care professionals, patients, and families are important for emotional healing and organizational learning. This webinar series featured discussions on peer support efforts and a toolkit for Canadian health care workers.
Fact Sheet/FAQs
Classic
Horsham, PA; Institute for Safe Medication Practices: February 2019.
Drawing on information gathered from the ISMP Medication Errors Reporting Program, this fact sheet provides a comprehensive list of commonly confused medication names, including look-alike and sound-alike name pairs. Drug name confusion can easily lead to medication errors, and the ISMP has recommended interventions such as the use of tall man lettering in order to prevent such errors. An error due to sound-alike medications is discussed in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.
Chicago, IL: Health Research & Educational Trust; 2018.
Proactive identification of conditions that degrade the diagnostic process can drive improvement. This toolkit provides resources to help organizations seeking to improve diagnosis. The publication includes case studies that illustrate implementation challenges and provides infrastructure enhancement suggestions for hospital teams as they design interventions to reduce diagnostic errors.
Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2018.
Diagnostic error prevention in primary care is a persistent challenge. This AHRQ-funded toolkit provides guidance for ambulatory care organizations that seek to improve the reliability of diagnosis in children. The material focuses on tactics to enhance how practices recognize, track, and follow up on adolescent depression, pediatric elevated blood pressure, and actionable laboratory results.
SIDM Patient Engagement Committee. Evanston, IL: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine; October 2018.
Patient engagement has been promoted as a strategy to enhance safety in health care. This toolkit helps patients organize information about their medical history, current concerns, symptoms, and medications to prepare them for medical appointments.
Horsham, PA; Institute for Safe Medication Practices: 2018.
This fact sheet lists medications with a high risk of causing significant harm to patients when incorrectly administered. The 2018 publication reflects insights gathered through a survey of current medication use in acute care facilities. The update includes changes such as expanded examples of antithrombotic agents listed and removal of IV radiocontrast media due to lack of errors reported with its use.
Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety. Plymouth Meeting, PA: ECRI; August 2018.
Inadequate follow-up of test results can contribute to missed and delayed diagnoses. Developing optimal test result management systems is essential for closing the loop so that results can be acted upon in a timely manner. The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety convened a working group to identify how technology can be used to facilitate improved communication and timely action regarding test results. This report summarizes the methods used by the working group and their findings. Recommendations include improving communication by standardizing the format of test results, including required timing for diagnostic testing responses, automating the notification process in electronic health records, and optimizing alerts to reduce alert fatigue. A past WebM&M commentary discussed a case involving ambulatory test result management.
Government Resource
National Health Service.
Data surveillance and transparency are core to measuring and informing improvement efforts. This website provides detailed data that links ambulatory care prescribing activity to National Health Service hospitalizations in an effort to clarify potential adverse medication events. The dashboard launched tracking gastrointestinal bleeding as an indicator of a medication-related adverse result and will expand to other indicators and conditions over time.
Toolkit
Choosing Wisely Canada.
Opioid misuse is a concern in both the United States and Canada. This campaign shares 14 specialty-specific recommendations to improve opioid safety in Canadian hospitals. An Annual Perspective discussed the opioid crisis as a patient safety concern.
Boutwell A, Bourgoin A , Maxwell J, et al. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2016. AHRQ Publication No. 16-0047-EF.
This toolkit provides information for hospitals to help reduce preventable readmissions among Medicaid patients. Building on hospital experience with utilizing the materials since 2014, this updated guide explains how to determine root causes for readmissions, evaluate existing interventions, develop a set of improvement strategies, and optimize care transition processes.
Kaprielian VS; Sullivan DT; Josie King Foundation.
The experience of Sorrel King and the death of her daughter has motivated health care leaders and the industry to improve patient safety. This curriculum provides a set of materials that incorporates lessons from Josie's Story into existing educational programs.
Chicago, IL: American Hospital Association, Health Research & Educational Trust; 2016.
Checklists are a recommended method to reduce omissions in care, despite controversies regarding their impact on safety. This toolkit provides a collection of checklists that have been developed and field tested by participants in the Hospital Engagement Network to prevent harm associated with the use of central lines, adverse drug events, and falls.
Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; May 2016.
Traditionally, health systems have disclosed adverse events to patients only through a lengthy process that involves providing limited information to patients and families, avoiding admissions of fault, and emphasizing protection of the clinicians involved. This approach may harm safety culture and has been criticized as not being patient-centered. Some pioneering institutions, such as the University of Michigan Health System, began implementing an alternative approach known as "communication and resolution," which emphasizes early disclosure of adverse events and proactive attempts to reach an amicable solution. Early adopters of this method have achieved notable results, including a decline in malpractice lawsuits. The CANDOR toolkit, developed by AHRQ as part of the Medical Liability Reform and Patient Safety Initiative, provides tools for health care organizations to implement a communication-and-resolution program. The toolkit includes videos, slides, gap analysis assessments and teaching materials. It has been tested in 14 hospitals in several different states. A PSNet interview with the chief risk officer of the University of Michigan Health System discusses the organization's pioneering efforts to implement a communication-and-response system.

Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; December 2014.

Standardization has been embraced as a strategy to improve health literacy and to reduce patient misunderstanding of medication instructions. This tool provides standard language that clarifies directions for patients regarding when they should take their medications.
FDA Consumer Health Information. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; September 20, 2016.
Highlighting how aging affects medication absorption that may lead to complications, this fact sheet offers recommendations for older patients to follow instructions, maintain a medication list, be aware of drug interaction potential, and perform an annual review of medications with clinicians to help them take prescriptions safely.