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Making Health Care Safer II

An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices

Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 211

Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); .
Report No.: 13-E001-EF

Structured Abstract

Objectives:

To review important patient safety practices for evidence of effectiveness, implementation, and adoption.

Data sources:

Searches of multiple computerized databases, gray literature, and the judgments of a 20-member panel of patient safety stakeholders.

Review methods:

The judgments of the stakeholders were used to prioritize patient safety practices for review, and to select which practices received in-depth reviews and which received brief reviews. In-depth reviews consisted of a formal literature search, usually of multiple databases, and included gray literature, where applicable. In-depth reviews assessed practices on the following domains:

  • How important is the problem?
  • What is the patient safety practice?
  • Why should this practice work?
  • What are the beneficial effects of the practice?
  • What are the harms of the practice?
  • How has the practice been implemented, and in what contexts?
  • Are there any data about costs?
  • Are there data about the effect of context on effectiveness?

We assessed individual studies for risk of bias using tools appropriate to specific study designs. We assessed the strength of evidence of effectiveness using a system developed for this project. Brief reviews had focused literature searches for focused questions. All practices were then summarized on the following domains: scope of the problem, strength of evidence for effectiveness, evidence on potential for harmful unintended consequences, estimate of costs, how much is known about implementation and how difficult the practice is to implement. Stakeholder judgment was then used to identify practices that were “strongly encouraged” for adoption, and those practices that were “encouraged” for adoption.

Results:

From an initial list of over 100 patient safety practices, the stakeholders identified 41 practices as a priority for this review: 18 in-depth reviews and 23 brief reviews. Of these, 20 practices had their strength of evidence of effectiveness rated as at least “moderate,” and 25 practices had at least “moderate” evidence of how to implement them. Ten practices were classified by the stakeholders as having sufficient evidence of effectiveness and implementation and should be “strongly encouraged” for adoption, and an additional 12 practices were classified as those that should be “encouraged” for adoption.

Conclusions:

The evidence supporting the effectiveness of many patient safety practices has improved substantially over the past decade. Evidence about implementation and context has also improved, but continues to lag behind evidence of effectiveness. Twenty-two patient safety practices are sufficiently well understood, and health care providers can consider adopting them now.

Contents

Prepared for: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1, Contract No. 290-2007-10062-I. Prepared by: RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, University of California, San Francisco/Stanford, San Francisco, CA, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, ECRI Institute, Plymouth Meeting, PA

Suggested citation:

Shekelle PG, Wachter RM, Pronovost PJ, Schoelles K, McDonald KM, Dy SM, Shojania K, Reston J, Berger Z, Johnsen B, Larkin JW, Lucas S, Martinez K, Motala A, Newberry SJ, Noble M, Pfoh E, Ranji SR, Rennke S, Schmidt E, Shanman R, Sullivan N, Sun F, Tipton K, Treadwell JR, Tsou A, Vaiana ME, Weaver SJ, Wilson R, Winters BD. Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices. Evidence Report No. 211. (Prepared by the Southern California-RAND Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-2007-10062-I.) AHRQ Publication No. 13-E001-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. March 2013. www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/evidence-based-reports/ptsafetyuptp.html.

This report is based on research conducted by the Southern California-RAND Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD (Contract No. 290-2007-10062-I). The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the authors, who are responsible for its contents; the findings and conclusions do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. Therefore, no statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The information in this report is intended to help health care decisionmakers—patients and clinicians, health system leaders, and policymakers, among others—make well-informed decisions and thereby improve the quality of health care services. This report is not intended to be a substitute for the application of clinical judgment. Anyone who makes decisions concerning the provision of clinical care should consider this report in the same way as any medical reference and in conjunction with all other pertinent information, i.e., in the context of available resources and circumstances presented by individual patients.

This report may be used, in whole or in part, as the basis for development of clinical practice guidelines and other quality enhancement tools, or as a basis for reimbursement and coverage policies. AHRQ or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorsement of such derivative products may not be stated or implied.

None of the investigators have any affiliations or financial involvement that conflicts with the material presented in this report.

1

540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850; www‚Äč.ahrq.gov

Bookshelf ID: NBK133363

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