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Health Agencies Update
December 27, 2006

Patient Safety Tips

JAMA. 2006;296(24):2916. doi:10.1001/jama.296.24.2916-d

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has developed a tip sheet aimed at helping hospitals provide the highest quality care possible (http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/10tips.htm). The 10 tips include limiting shifts for medical residents and interns and adopting interventions to reduce the number of cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia and catheter-related urinary tract infections.

Each tip provides a brief synopsis of research supporting the recommendations. For example, reducing the length of shifts for interns working in intensive care units is supported by research that found that the rate of serious medical errors at two Boston hospital intensive care units dropped 36% when 30-hour-in-a-row work shifts for first-year residents were eliminated (Landrigan CP et al. N Engl J Med. 2004;351:1838-1848). The tip that computer-based order entry systems can reduce catheter-related urinary tract infections is supported by research that found that systems prompting catheter removal after 72 hours decreased the duration of urinary catheterization and incidence of urinary tract infections (Cornia PB et al. Am J Med. 2003;114:404-407).