Publications by authors named "Jo R Applebaum"

12 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Incident Reports of Naming Errors among Two Sets of Infant Twins.

Pediatr Qual Saf 2020 Nov-Dec;5(6):e356. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, N.Y.

Newborns are at high risk for identification errors due to their inability to speak and indistinguishable features. To reduce this risk, The Joint Commission requires hospitals to use a distinct identification method for newborns. Most hospitals create medical records for newborns at birth using temporary naming conventions, resulting in patients with similar identifiers. Typically, multiple-birth infants are distinguished from their siblings by a single character (1, 2, or A, B), placing them at higher risk for identification errors, which can delay care and compromise patient safety.

Methods: We present 2 unrelated cases involving naming errors in sets of infant twins receiving care in a healthcare system using Joint Commission compliant distinct temporary naming convention.

Results: In the 2 cases, system failures contributed to naming errors in 2 sets of infant twins, which resulted in delayed care. In the first case, twins were inadvertently assigned the same temporary name. In the second case, an infant's blood specimen label did not include a single character, which distinguishes a multiple-birth infant from their sibling. Further safeguards are needed to reduce this risk. These cases illustrated the potential for misidentification related to newborn naming conventions during the registration process, especially between siblings of multiple-birth infants.

Conclusions: Further research is needed to determine strategies to prevent newborn identification errors. Potential strategies to reduce this risk and protect newborns include improving the design of newborn identifiers, systems-level interventions such as verification alerts, and improved registration processes.
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October 2020

Contributing Factors for Pediatric Ambulatory Diagnostic Process Errors: Project RedDE.

Pediatr Qual Saf 2020 May-Jun;5(3):e299. Epub 2020 May 12.

Department of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital at Montefiore and The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y.

Background: Pediatric ambulatory diagnostic errors (DEs) occur frequently. We used root cause analyses (RCAs) to identify their failure points and contributing factors.

Methods: Thirty-one practices were enrolled in a national QI collaborative to reduce 3 DEs occurring at different stages of the diagnostic process: missed adolescent depression, missed elevated blood pressure (BP), and missed actionable laboratory values. Practices were encouraged to perform monthly "mini-RCAs" to identify failure points and prioritize interventions. Information related to process steps involved, specific contributing factors, and recommended interventions were reported monthly. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Pareto charts.

Results: Twenty-eight (90%) practices submitted 184 mini-RCAs. The median number of mini-RCAs submitted was 6 (interquartile range, 2-9). For missed adolescent depression, the process step most commonly identified was the failure to screen (68%). For missed elevated BP, it was the failure to recognize (36%) and act on (28%) abnormal BP. For missed actionable laboratories, failure to notify families (23%) and document actions on (19%) abnormal results were the process steps most commonly identified. Top contributing factors to missed adolescent depression included patient volume (16%) and inadequate staffing (13%). Top contributing factors to missed elevated BP included patient volume (12%), clinic milieu (9%), and electronic health records (EHRs) (8%). Top contributing factors to missed actionable laboratories included written communication (13%), EHR (9%), and provider knowledge (8%). Recommended interventions were similar across errors.

Conclusions: EHR-based interventions, standardization of processes, and cross-training may help decrease DEs in the pediatric ambulatory setting. Mini-RCAs are useful tools to identify their contributing factors and interventions.
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May 2020

Wrong-Patient Ordering Errors in Peripartum Mother-Newborn Pairs: A Unique Patient-Safety Challenge in Obstetrics.

Obstet Gynecol 2020 07;136(1):161-166

Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and the Department of Quality and Patient Safety, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York.

Because maternal morbidity and mortality remain persistent challenges to the U.S. health care system, efforts to improve inpatient patient safety are critical. One important aspect of ensuring patient safety is reducing medical errors. However, obstetrics presents a uniquely challenging environment for safe ordering practices. When mother-newborn pairs are admitted in the postpartum setting with nearly identical names in the medical record (for example, Jane Doe and Janegirl Doe), there is a potential for wrong-patient medication ordering errors. This can lead to harm from the wrong patient receiving a medication or diagnostic test, especially a newborn receiving an adult dose of medication, as well as delaying treatment for the appropriate patient. We describe two clinical scenarios of wrong-patient ordering errors between mother-newborn pairs. The first involves an intravenous labetalol order that was placed for a postpartum patient but was released from the automated dispensing cabinet under the newborn's name. The medication was administered correctly, but an automatic order for labetalol was generated in the neonate's chart. Another scenario involves a woman presenting in labor with acute psychotic symptoms. The psychiatry service placed a note and orders for antipsychotic medications in the neonate's chart. These orders were cancelled shortly thereafter and replaced for the mother. These scenarios illustrate this specific patient-safety concern inherent in the treatment of mother-newborn pairs and highlight that perinatal units should evaluate threats to patient safety embedded in the unique mother-newborn relationship and develop strategies to reduce risk.
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July 2020

Impact of Hearing Loss on Patient Falls in the Inpatient Setting.

Am J Prev Med 2020 06;58(6):839-844

Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York. Electronic address:

Introduction: The objectives of this study were to investigate an association between the risk of patient falls and self-reported hearing loss and to examine whether self-reported hearing loss with versus without hearing aids predicts patient falls in an inpatient setting.

Methods: This retrospective cohort analysis was conducted in 2018 in a large, urban, academic medical center. Participants included unique inpatients (N=52,805) of adults aged >18 years between February 1, 2017, and February 1, 2018. Outcome measures were falls in the inpatient setting and hearing loss with versus without hearing aids as predictors for patient falls.

Results: Self-reported hearing loss was associated with falls in the inpatient setting (OR=1.74, 95% CI=1.46, 2.07, p<1.43 × 10). Among patients with hearing impairment, a lack of hearing aids increased the risk for falls in the inpatient setting (OR=2.70, 95% CI=1.64, 4.69, p<1.41 × 10). After accounting for the risk of fall using the Morse Fall Scale (which does not include hearing impairment) and controlling for age and sex, patients with hearing loss and no hearing aids were significantly more likely to fall (OR=2.44, 95% CI=1.002, 5.654, p<0.042), but patients with hearing loss who did have hearing aids were not significantly more likely to fall (p<0.889). Hearing loss together with the Morse Fall Scale better predicted falls than the Morse Fall Scale alone (p<0.017).

Conclusions: In the inpatient setting, there was a positive association between hearing loss and falls. However, among patients with hearing loss, only those without hearing aids were significantly more likely to fall, accounting for the Morse Fall Scale score and demographics characteristics. These findings support adding hearing loss as a modifiable risk factor in risk assessment tools for falls and exploring the use of amplification devices as an intervention.
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June 2020

A National Survey on the Use of Temporary Naming Conventions for Newborns: 5-Year Follow-up.

Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2020 09 19;59(9-10):925-928. Epub 2020 May 19.

Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.

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September 2020

Limiting the Number of Open Records in an Electronic Health Record-Reply.

JAMA 2019 10;322(13):1314-1315

Division of Hospital Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.

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October 2019

Risk of Wrong-Patient Orders Among Multiple vs Singleton Births in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of 2 Integrated Health Care Systems.

JAMA Pediatr 2019 Aug 26. Epub 2019 Aug 26.

Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Importance: Multiple-birth infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) have nearly identical patient identifiers and may be at greater risk of wrong-patient order errors compared with singleton-birth infants.

Objectives: To assess the risk of wrong-patient orders among multiple-birth infants and singletons receiving care in the NICU and to examine the proportion of wrong-patient orders between multiple-birth infants and siblings (intrafamilial errors) and between multiple-birth infants and nonsiblings (extrafamilial errors).

Design, Setting, And Participants: A retrospective cohort study was conducted in 6 NICUs of 2 large, integrated health care systems in New York City that used distinct temporary names for newborns per the requirements of The Joint Commission. Data were collected from 4 NICUs at New York-Presbyterian Hospital from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2015, and 2 NICUs at Montefiore Health System from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2015. Data were analyzed from May 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017. All infants in the 6 NICUs for whom electronic orders were placed during the study periods were included.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Wrong-patient electronic orders were identified using the Wrong-Patient Retract-and-Reorder (RAR) Measure. This measure was used to detect RAR events, which are defined as 1 or more orders placed for a patient that are retracted (ie, canceled) by the same clinician within 10 minutes, then reordered by the same clinician for a different patient within the next 10 minutes.

Results: A total of 10 819 infants were included: 85.5% were singleton-birth infants and 14.5% were multiple-birth infants (male, 55.8%; female, 44.2%). The overall wrong-patient order rate was significantly higher among multiple-birth infants than among singleton-birth infants (66.0 vs 41.7 RAR events per 100 000 orders, respectively; adjusted odds ratio, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.39-2.20; P < .001). The rate of extrafamilial RAR events among multiple-birth infants (36.1 per 100 000 orders) was similar to that of singleton-birth infants (41.7 per 100 000 orders). The excess risk among multiple-birth infants (29.9 per 100 000 orders) appears to be owing to intrafamilial RAR events. The risk increased as the number of siblings receiving care in the NICU increased; a wrong-patient order error occurred in 1 in 7 sets of twin births and in 1 in 3 sets of higher-order multiple births.

Conclusions And Relevance: This study suggests that multiple-birth status in the NICU is associated with significantly increased risk of wrong-patient orders compared with singleton-birth status. This excess risk appears to be owing to misidentification between siblings. These results suggest that a distinct naming convention as required by The Joint Commission may provide insufficient protection against identification errors among multiple-birth infants. Strategies to reduce this risk include using given names at birth, changing from temporary to given names when available, and encouraging parents to select names for multiple births before they are born when acceptable to families.
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August 2019

Effect of Restriction of the Number of Concurrently Open Records in an Electronic Health Record on Wrong-Patient Order Errors: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2019 05;321(18):1780-1787

Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Health System, Bronx, New York.

Importance: Recommendations in the United States suggest limiting the number of patient records displayed in an electronic health record (EHR) to 1 at a time, although little evidence supports this recommendation.

Objective: To assess the risk of wrong-patient orders in an EHR configuration limiting clinicians to 1 record vs allowing up to 4 records opened concurrently.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This randomized clinical trial included 3356 clinicians at a large health system in New York and was conducted from October 2015 to April 2017 in emergency department, inpatient, and outpatient settings.

Interventions: Clinicians were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to an EHR configuration limiting to 1 patient record open at a time (restricted; n = 1669) or allowing up to 4 records open concurrently (unrestricted; n = 1687).

Main Outcomes And Measures: The unit of analysis was the order session, a series of orders placed by a clinician for a single patient. The primary outcome was order sessions that included 1 or more wrong-patient orders identified by the Wrong-Patient Retract-and-Reorder measure (an electronic query that identifies orders placed for a patient, retracted, and then reordered shortly thereafter by the same clinician for a different patient).

Results: Among the 3356 clinicians who were randomized (mean [SD] age, 43.1 [12.5] years; mean [SD] experience at study site, 6.5 [6.0] years; 1894 females [56.4%]), all provided order data and were included in the analysis. The study included 12 140 298 orders, in 4 486 631 order sessions, placed for 543 490 patients. There was no significant difference in wrong-patient order sessions per 100 000 in the restricted vs unrestricted group, respectively, overall (90.7 vs 88.0; odds ratio [OR], 1.03 [95% CI, 0.90-1.20]; P = .60) or in any setting (ED: 157.8 vs 161.3, OR, 1.00 [95% CI, 0.83-1.20], P = .96; inpatient: 185.6 vs 185.1, OR, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.89-1.11]; P = .86; or outpatient: 7.9 vs 8.2, OR, 0.94 [95% CI, 0.70-1.28], P = .71). The effect did not differ among settings (P for interaction = .99). In the unrestricted group overall, 66.2% of the order sessions were completed with 1 record open, including 34.5% of ED, 53.7% of inpatient, and 83.4% of outpatient order sessions.

Conclusions And Relevance: A strategy that limited clinicians to 1 EHR patient record open compared with a strategy that allowed up to 4 records open concurrently did not reduce the proportion of wrong-patient order errors. However, clinicians in the unrestricted group placed most orders with a single record open, limiting the power of the study to determine whether reducing the number of records open when placing orders reduces the risk of wrong-patient order errors.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT02876588.
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May 2019

Evaluating Serial Strategies for Preventing Wrong-Patient Orders in the NICU.

Pediatrics 2017 May;139(5)

Division of Hospital Medicine.

Background: NICU patients have characteristics believed to increase their risk for wrong-patient errors; however, little is known about the frequency of wrong-patient errors in the NICU or about effective interventions for preventing these errors. We conducted a quality improvement study to evaluate the frequency of wrong-patient orders in the NICU and to assess the effectiveness of an ID reentry intervention and a distinct naming convention (eg, "Wendysgirl") for reducing these errors, using non-NICU pediatric units as a comparator.

Methods: Using a validated measure, we examined the rate of wrong-patient orders in NICU and non-NICU pediatric units during 3 periods: baseline (before implementing interventions), ID reentry intervention (reentry of patient identifiers before placing orders), and combined intervention (addition of a distinct naming convention for newborns).

Results: We reviewed >850 000 NICU orders and >3.5 million non-NICU pediatric orders during the 7-year study period. At baseline, wrong-patient orders were more frequent in NICU than in non-NICU pediatric units (117.2 vs 74.9 per 100 000 orders, respectively; odds ratio 1.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.34-1.82). The ID reentry intervention reduced the frequency of errors in the NICU to 60.2 per 100 000 (48.7% reduction; < .001). The combined ID reentry and distinct naming interventions yielded an additional decrease to 45.6 per 100 000 (61.1% reduction from baseline; < .001).

Conclusions: The risk of wrong-patient orders in the NICU was significantly higher than in non-NICU pediatric units. Implementation of a combined ID reentry intervention and distinct naming convention greatly reduced this risk.
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May 2017

A national survey assessing the number of records allowed open in electronic health records at hospitals and ambulatory sites.

J Am Med Inform Assoc 2017 Sep;24(5):992-995

Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA.

To reduce the risk of wrong-patient errors, safety experts recommend limiting the number of patient records providers can open at once in electronic health records (EHRs). However, it is unknown whether health care organizations follow this recommendation or what rationales drive their decisions. To address this gap, we conducted an electronic survey via 2 national listservs. Among 167 inpatient and outpatient study facilities using EHR systems designed to open multiple records at once, 44.3% were configured to allow ≥3 records open at once (unrestricted), 38.3% allowed only 1 record open (restricted), and 17.4% allowed 2 records open (hedged). Decision-making centered on efforts to balance safety and efficiency, but there was disagreement among organizations about how to achieve that balance. Results demonstrate no consensus on the number of records to be allowed open at once in EHRs. Rigorous studies are needed to determine the optimal number of records that balances safety and efficiency.
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September 2017