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Research Studies is a monthly compilation of research articles funded by AHRQ or authored by AHRQ researchers and recently published in journals or newsletters.
Results1 to 25 of 32 Research Studies Displayed
Burden A, Potestio C, Pukenas E
Influence of perioperative handoffs on complications and outcomes.
The authors describe the perioperative environment, calling it dynamic and complex, and indicate that there are multiple distractions that can interfere with effective communication and safe patient care. They discuss various aspects involved in handoffs, concluding that an institutional culture that highlights the importance of patient safety and that encourages team collaboration has demonstrated that harm can be decreased and patient safety can be improved.
Citation: Burden A, Potestio C, Pukenas E . Influence of perioperative handoffs on complications and outcomes. Adv Anesth 2021 Dec;39:133-48. doi: 10.1016/j.aan.2021.07.008..
Keywords: Patient Safety, Transitions of Care, Workflow
De Oliveira GS, Castro-Alves LJ, Kendall MC
Effectiveness of pharmacist intervention to reduce medication errors and health-care resources utilization after transitions of care: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
The main objective of the current investigation was to examine the effectiveness of pharmacist-based transition-of-care interventions on the reduction of medication errors after hospital discharge. Findings showed that pharmacist transition-of-care intervention is an effective strategy to reduce medication errors after hospital discharge and also reduces subsequent emergency room visits.
Citation: De Oliveira GS, Castro-Alves LJ, Kendall MC . Effectiveness of pharmacist intervention to reduce medication errors and health-care resources utilization after transitions of care: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Patient Saf 2021 Aug 1;17(5):375-80. doi: 10.1097/pts.0000000000000283..
Keywords: Medication: Safety, Medication, Adverse Drug Events (ADE), Adverse Events, Medical Errors, Patient Safety, Provider: Pharmacist, Transitions of Care
Chilakamarri P, Finn EB, Sather J
Failure mode and effect analysis: engineering safer neurocritical care transitions.
Investigators presented failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) as a systems-engineering methodology to be applied to neurocritical care transitions to reduce failures in communication and improve patient safety. They described their local implementation of FMEA to improve the safety of inter-hospital transfer for patients with intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage as evidence of success. They found that application of the FMEA approach yielded meaningful and sustained process change for patients with neurocritical care needs.
Citation: Chilakamarri P, Finn EB, Sather J . Failure mode and effect analysis: engineering safer neurocritical care transitions. Neurocrit Care 2021 Aug;35(1):232-40. doi: 10.1007/s12028-020-01160-6..
Keywords: Patient Safety, Transitions of Care, Critical Care, Communication, Quality Improvement, Quality of Care
Champion C, Sockolow PS, Bowles KH
Getting to complete and accurate medication lists during the transition to home health care.
This observational field study looked at the work that home health care (HHC) admissions nurses complete related to medication reconciliation tasks, explored the impact of shared electronic medication data (interoperability), and highlight opportunities to enhance medication reconciliation with respect to transition in care to HHC agencies. Three diverse Pennsylvania HHC agencies participated, with each using different electronic health record systems. Six nurses per site admitted 2 patients each (36 patients total) and their tasks were examined in depth. Medication reconciliation tasks included changes in number of medications and change types and calls to the health provider (doctor or pharmacy) to resolve medication-related issues. A high percentage of patients used multiple medications (more than 12 medications on average), and were high-risk (on average more than 8 medications per patient). Medication reconciliation decreased the number of prescriptions between pre- and post-reconciliation for 91% of patients with 41% of the medications requiring changes. Two-thirds of the nurses called a provider to facilitate medication changes. Interoperability reduced the number of changes required but did not eliminate changes or calls to providers.
AHRQ-funded; R01 HS024537.
Citation: Champion C, Sockolow PS, Bowles KH . Getting to complete and accurate medication lists during the transition to home health care. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2021 May;22(5):1003-08. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.06.024..
Keywords: Medication, Medication: Safety, Transitions of Care, Home Healthcare, Patient Safety
Sather J, Littauer R, Finn E
A multimodal intervention to improve the quality and safety of interhospital care transitions for nontraumatic intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Regionalization of care has increased interhospital transfers (IHTs) of nontraumatic intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) to specialized centers yet exposes patients to the latent risks inherent to IHT. In this study, the researchers examined how a multimodal quality improvement intervention affected quality and safety measures for patients with ICH or SAH exposed to IHT.
Citation: Sather J, Littauer R, Finn E . A multimodal intervention to improve the quality and safety of interhospital care transitions for nontraumatic intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf 2021 Feb;47(2):99-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2020.10.003..
Keywords: Transitions of Care, Hospitals, Patient Safety, Quality Improvement, Quality of Care, Care Coordination
Ingraham A, Reinke CE
Optimizing safety for surgical patients undergoing interhospital transfer.
This article discusses the need for standardization and improvement of the interhospital transfer process. The authors advocate studying and adapting quality improvement efforts directed at other transitions of care so that care will improve for surgical patients transferred between acute care institutions.
Citation: Ingraham A, Reinke CE . Optimizing safety for surgical patients undergoing interhospital transfer. Surg Clin North Am 2021 Feb;101(1):57-69. doi: 10.1016/j.suc.2020.09.002..
Keywords: Patient Safety, Surgery, Transitions of Care, Hospitals, Quality Improvement, Quality of Care
Holden RJ, Abebe E
Medication transitions: vulnerable periods of change in need of human factors and ergonomics.
The authors present a novel view of transitions from the lens of patient ergonomics which posits that patients and other nonprofessionals experience many changes during patient work transitions toward health-related goals. Medication transitions are particularly vulnerable. Two cases of medication transitions; new and medication deprescribing are described in which the patient work lens reveals many accompanying changes, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for human factors and ergonomics.
Citation: Holden RJ, Abebe E . Medication transitions: vulnerable periods of change in need of human factors and ergonomics. Appl Ergon 2021 Jan;90:103279. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2020.103279..
Keywords: Medication, Medication: Safety, Patient and Family Engagement, Transitions of Care, Patient Safety
Zhu W, Patterson BW, Smith M
A Markov chain model for transient analysis of handoff process in emergency departments.
Transfer of care between multiple units or facilities is of significant importance for patient safety, care quality, and operation efficiency. Such transfers are often referred to as handoffs in hospitals, which need to be carried out timely, safely, and smoothly with accurate information. This paper introduced a Markov chain model to study the transients of handoff process in hospital emergency departments.
Citation: Zhu W, Patterson BW, Smith M . A Markov chain model for transient analysis of handoff process in emergency departments. IEEE Robot Autom Lett 2020 Jul;5(3):4360-67. doi: 10.1109/lra.2020.2996066..
Keywords: Emergency Department, Hospitals, Transitions of Care, Healthcare Delivery, Patient Safety
Arbaje AI, Werner NE, Kasda EM
Learning from lawsuits: using malpractice claims data to develop care transitions planning tools.
This study used malpractice claims data to evaluate safety risks during care transitions from hospital to home and to help develop care transitions planning tools and pilot test them. The authors analyzed closed malpractice claims for 230 adult patients discharged from 4 hospital sites. Two structured focus groups were also conducted for stakeholders to review concerns. This led to the development of two care transitions planning tools – one for patients/caregivers and one for healthcare providers. Feasibility on 53 patient discharges were tested for both tools. A total of 33 risk factors corresponding to hospital work system elements, care transitions processes, and care outcomes were found using qualitative analysis. Providers found the tool easy to use and patients felt the length and response of the tool was acceptable.
AHRQ-funded; HS022916; HS019519.
Citation: Arbaje AI, Werner NE, Kasda EM . Learning from lawsuits: using malpractice claims data to develop care transitions planning tools. J Patient Saf 2020 Mar;16(1):52-57. doi: 10.1097/pts.0000000000000238.
Keywords: Medical Liability, Transitions of Care, Risk, Hospital Discharge, Hospitals, Patient Safety
Mueller S, Zheng J, Orav EJ
Inter-hospital transfer and patient outcomes: a retrospective cohort study.
Inter-hospital transfer (IHT, the transfer of patients between hospitals) occurs regularly and exposes patients to risks of discontinuity of care, though outcomes of transferred patients remains largely understudied. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the association between IHT and healthcare utilisation and clinical outcomes. The investigators concluded that IHT was associated with higher costs, longer LOS and lower odds of discharge home, but was differentially associated with odds of early death and 30 -day mortality depending on patients' disease category.
Citation: Mueller S, Zheng J, Orav EJ . Inter-hospital transfer and patient outcomes: a retrospective cohort study. BMJ Qual Saf 2019 Nov;28(11):e1. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2018-008087..
Keywords: Transitions of Care, Hospitals, Patient Safety, Elderly, Outcomes, Chronic Conditions, Mortality, Medicare
Kapoor A, Field T, Handler S
Adverse events in long-term care residents transitioning from hospital back to nursing home.
This study looked at adverse event rates of long-term care residents transitioning back to their nursing home after hospitalization. A prospective cohort study of LTC residents discharged from hospital back to LTC from March 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017 was conducted, and residents were followed up for 45 days. A random sample of 32 nursing homes located in 6 New England states was used, and 555 LTC residents were selected, contributing 762 transitions from hospital back to the same LTC facility. Most of the cohort were female (65.5%) and non-Hispanic white (93.7%). The study used trained nurse abstractors to review nursing home records to determine if an adverse event occurred. Out of 762 discharges there were 379 adverse events. The most common adverse events were pressure ulcers, skin tears, and falls followed by health care-acquired infections. 145 adverse events were considered less serious, with 28 life-threatening, and 8 were fatal. Most of the adverse events were considered preventable or ameliorable.
Citation: Kapoor A, Field T, Handler S . Adverse events in long-term care residents transitioning from hospital back to nursing home. JAMA Intern Med 2019 Sep;179(9):1254-61. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2005..
Keywords: Adverse Events, Long-Term Care, Nursing Homes, Transitions of Care, Elderly, Patient Safety, Hospital Discharge, Hospitalization
Campbell Britton M, Hodshon B, Chaudhry SI
Implementing a warm handoff between hospital and skilled nursing facility clinicians.
This study focused on increasing better communication during transfers from hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Warm handoffs between hospital and SNF physicians was implemented. Participation in warm handoffs gradually increased – starting at 15.78% in stage 1 and increasing to 46.89% in stage 3. A total of 2417 patient discharges were included in this study.
Citation: Campbell Britton M, Hodshon B, Chaudhry SI . Implementing a warm handoff between hospital and skilled nursing facility clinicians. J Patient Saf 2019 Sep;15(3):198-204. doi: 10.1097/pts.0000000000000529..
Keywords: Communication, Patient Safety, Hospital Discharge, Transitions of Care, Care Coordination, Hospitals, Nursing Homes
Hoonakker PLT, Wooldridge AR, Hose BZ
Information flow during pediatric trauma care transitions: things falling through the cracks.
In order to investigate information flow during pediatric trauma care transitions, researchers interviewed 18 clinicians about communication and coordination between the emergency department, operating room, and pediatric intensive care unit, then surveyed the clinicians about patient safety during these transitions. They found that, despite the fact that the many services and units involved in pediatric trauma cooperate well together during trauma cases, important patient care information is often lost when transitioning patients between units. To manage the transition of this fragile and complex population better, they recommend finding ways to manage the information flow during these transitions better by, for instance, providing technological support to ensure shared mental models.
Citation: Hoonakker PLT, Wooldridge AR, Hose BZ . Information flow during pediatric trauma care transitions: things falling through the cracks. Intern Emerg Med 2019 Aug;14(5):797-805. doi: 10.1007/s11739-019-02110-7..
Keywords: Children/Adolescents, Communication, Emergency Department, Healthcare Delivery, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Patient Safety, Provider, Provider: Clinician, Surgery, Transitions of Care, Trauma
Dyer AP, Dodds Ashley E, Anderson DJ
Total duration of antimicrobial therapy resulting from inpatient hospitalization.
The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of electronic data capture of post-discharge durations and evaluate total durations of antimicrobial exposure related to inpatient hospital stays. Results showed that discharge antimicrobial therapy accounted for a large portion of antimicrobial exposure related to inpatient hospital stays and suggested that discharge prescription data can be feasibly captured through electronic prescribing records and may aid in designing stewardship interventions at transitions of care.
Citation: Dyer AP, Dodds Ashley E, Anderson DJ . Total duration of antimicrobial therapy resulting from inpatient hospitalization. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2019 Aug;40(8):847-54. doi: 10.1017/ice.2019.118..
Keywords: Antimicrobial Stewardship, Health Information Technology (HIT), Hospitalization, Patient Safety, Transitions of Care
AHRQ Author: Wyatt DL
Employing technology to make care transitions safer.
This commentary discusses the potential for errors in patient handoffs; important information about medications and instructions regarding patient care may be overlooked when the patient is referred to special care, moved to a new hospital setting, or discharged. The problem is especially acute for patients with multiple chronic conditions who often undergo frequent transitions to new care settings and healthcare providers. The author describes AHRQ’s funding opportunities for health information technology interventions that aim to improve communication and coordination during care transitions, such as location-based smartphone alerts, a patient-centered discharge toolkit, and a ‘smart pillbox’ electronic medication adherence reporting project.
Citation: Wyatt DL . Employing technology to make care transitions safer. J Nurs Care Qual 2019 Jul/Sep;34(3):185-88. doi: 10.1097/ncq.0000000000000417..
Keywords: Adverse Events, Care Coordination, Chronic Conditions, Communication, Health Information Technology (HIT), Healthcare Delivery, Hospital Discharge, Medical Errors, Medication, Patient Safety, Transitions of Care
Mueller SK, Schnipper JL
Physician perspectives on interhospital transfers.
This study examined physician perspectives of the common problems that occur during acute care hospital interhospital transfers. The process tends to be nonstandardized which creates a number of issues. These issues include: patients sometimes, frequently, or always arriving without required specialized care (56% of the time), arriving with unrealistic expectations of care (77.2% of responses), arrived more than 24 hours after accepted transfer in 80.1% of responses, and arrived without necessary transfer records 86.9% of the time. The last issue and also time of day of arrival many physicians felt posed a risk to the transferred patients.
Citation: Mueller SK, Schnipper JL . Physician perspectives on interhospital transfers. J Patient Saf 2019 Jun;15(2):86-89. doi: 10.1097/pts.0000000000000312..
Keywords: Healthcare Delivery, Hospitals, Patient Safety, Provider, Provider: Physician, Transitions of Care
Xiao Y, Abebe E, Gurses AP
Engineering a foundation for partnership to improve medication safety during care transitions.
Current approaches to safe, self-medication management for patients and caregivers after hospital discharge tend to focus on adding isolated strategies. Positing the concept that medication safety during care transition and at patient homes is the property of a "work system," in which the patient and caregivers are in collaboration with health professionals, this article argues that system thinking can enable a fundamental transformation that redesigns professionals' interactions with patients and caregivers, with the explicit goal of developing patients and caregivers into true partners with targeted roles. The authors describe a set of recommendations based on human factors principles that creates an engineering partnership with patients and their caregivers at different stages during a care episode, to enable productive interactions.
Citation: Xiao Y, Abebe E, Gurses AP . Engineering a foundation for partnership to improve medication safety during care transitions. J Patient Saf Risk Manag 2019 Feb 1;24(1):30-36. doi: 10.1177/2516043518821497..
Keywords: Medication, Medication: Safety, Patient and Family Engagement, Patient Safety, Transitions of Care
Arbaje AI, Hughes A, Werner N
Information management goals and process failures during home visits for middle-aged and older adults receiving skilled home healthcare services after hospital discharge: a multisite, qualitative study.
The goal of this study was to identify information management (IM) process failures made during home health visits to middle-aged and older adults after hospital discharge. Communication risks included information overload, information underload, information scatter, information conflict, and erroneous information.
Citation: Arbaje AI, Hughes A, Werner N . Information management goals and process failures during home visits for middle-aged and older adults receiving skilled home healthcare services after hospital discharge: a multisite, qualitative study. BMJ Qual Saf 2019 Feb;28(2):111-20. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2018-008163..
Keywords: Elderly, Home Healthcare, Hospital Discharge, Patient Safety, Transitions of Care
Rosenberg A, Campbell Britton
A taxonomy and cultural analysis of intra-hospital patient transfers.
Existing research on intra-hospital patient transitions focuses chiefly on handoffs, or exchanges of information, between clinicians. Less is known about patient transfers within hospitals, which include but extend beyond the exchange of information. Using participant observations and interviews at a 1,541-bed, academic, tertiary medical center, the investigators explored the ways in which staff define and understand patient transfers between units.
Citation: Rosenberg A, Campbell Britton . A taxonomy and cultural analysis of intra-hospital patient transfers. Res Nurs Health 2018 Aug;41(4):378-88. doi: 10.1002/nur.21875..
Keywords: Transitions of Care, Patient Safety, Hospitals
Mueller SK, Zheng J, Orav J
Interhospital transfer and receipt of specialty procedures.
This study examines the practice of transferring patients between acute care hospitals, and whether the patient actually receives the specialty services at the new hospital which is the reason for the transfer. A retrospective analysis used 2013 100% Master Beneficiary Summary and Inpatient claims files from the CMS. The cohort were aged 65 and above, continuously enrolled in Medicare A and B, with an acute care hospitalization claim, and transferred to another acute hospital with a primary diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, gastrointestinal bleed, renal failure, or hip fracture/dislocation. Of the 19,613 included beneficiaries, between 32.4% and 89.1% did not receive any associated specialty procedure at the receiving hospital.
Citation: Mueller SK, Zheng J, Orav J . Interhospital transfer and receipt of specialty procedures. J Hosp Med 2018 Jun;13(6):383-87. doi: 10.12788/jhm.2875..
Keywords: Transitions of Care, Patient Safety, Surgery, Healthcare Delivery
Statile AM, Unaka N, Auger KA
Preparing from the outside looking in for safely transitioning pediatric inpatients to home.
In this editorial, the authors discuss a paper by Rehm, et al. published in 2018 in Journal of Hospital Medicine entitled “Issues Identified by Post-Discharge Contact after Pediatric Hospitalization: A Multi-site Study.”
Citation: Statile AM, Unaka N, Auger KA . Preparing from the outside looking in for safely transitioning pediatric inpatients to home. J Hosp Med 2018 Apr;13(4):287-88. doi: 10.12788/jhm.2935..
Keywords: Children/Adolescents, Hospital Discharge, Hospitalization, Patient Safety, Transitions of Care
Kerstenetzky L, Birschbach MJ, Beach KF
Improving medication information transfer between hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, and long-term-care pharmacies for hospital discharge transitions of care: a targeted needs assessment using the Intervention Mapping framework.
The authors of this study report on the development of a logic model that will be used to explore methods for minimizing patient care medication delays and errors while further improving handoff communication to skilled nurse facilities and long term care pharmacy staff.
Citation: Kerstenetzky L, Birschbach MJ, Beach KF . Improving medication information transfer between hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, and long-term-care pharmacies for hospital discharge transitions of care: a targeted needs assessment using the Intervention Mapping framework. Res Social Adm Pharm 2018 Feb;14(2):138-45. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2016.12.013..
Keywords: Adverse Drug Events (ADE), Hospital Discharge, Hospitals, Long-Term Care, Medical Errors, Medication, Medication: Safety, Nursing Homes, Patient Safety, Transitions of Care
Hernandez-Boussard T, Davies S, McDonald K
Interhospital facility transfers in the United States: a nationwide outcomes study.
This study identified and compared characteristics and outcomes of transfer and nontransfer patients. In-hospital adverse events were significantly higher in transfer patients compared with nontransfer patients. Study results suggest that transfer patients have inferior outcomes compared with nontransfer patients.
Citation: Hernandez-Boussard T, Davies S, McDonald K . Interhospital facility transfers in the United States: a nationwide outcomes study. J Patient Saf 2017 Dec;13(4):187-91. doi: 10.1097/pts.0000000000000148.
Keywords: Adverse Events, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), Hospitalization, Patient Safety, Transitions of Care
Natafgi N, Zhu X, Baloh J
Critical access hospital use of TeamSTEPPS to implement shift-change handoff communication.
Implementation of handoff as part of TeamSTEPPS initiatives for improving shift-change communication is examined via qualitative analysis of on-site interviews and process observations in 8 critical access hospitals. Comparing implementation attributes and handoff performance across hospitals shows that the purpose of implementation did not differentiate between high and low performance, but facilitators and barriers did.
Citation: Natafgi N, Zhu X, Baloh J . Critical access hospital use of TeamSTEPPS to implement shift-change handoff communication. J Nurs Care Qual 2017 Jan/Mar;32(1):77-86. doi: 10.1097/ncq.0000000000000203.
Keywords: Communication, Patient Safety, Quality Improvement, TeamSTEPPS, Transitions of Care
Broecker M, Ponto K, Tredinnick R
SafeHOME: promoting safe transitions to the home.
This paper introduces the SafeHome Simulator system, a set of immersive Virtual Reality Training tools and display systems to train patients in safe discharge procedures in captured environments of their actual houses. The aim is to lower patient readmission by significantly improving discharge planning and training. The SafeHOME Simulator is a project currently under review.
Citation: Broecker M, Ponto K, Tredinnick R . SafeHOME: promoting safe transitions to the home. Stud Health Technol Inform 2016;220:51-4.
Keywords: Transitions of Care, Health Information Technology (HIT), Patient Safety, Patient Self-Management, Hospital Discharge