AAP Policy Statement: reducing harm from medical care

  • Pediatrics

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • As pediatricians face increasing complexity in rendering care, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued an update to its 2011 Policy Statement on reducing care-related harms.

Why this matters

  • Because of developmental, dependency, and size susceptibilities, children can be more vulnerable than adults to harm from medical errors.
  • Many mistakes in the pediatric setting involved medication errors.
  • Electronic health records are a minefield because of their adult-centric design.
  • Editorial offers a case for clinicians to consider. 

Key recommendations

  • Within their own professional communities, clinicians should work to raise awareness of best practices; actions can include:
    • Training and education.
    • Networking at regional and national meetings.
    • Creating a “safety culture” by presenting “safety” or “good-catch” stories at group meetings.
    • Following standardized protocols.
  • Clinicians can also work on developing pediatric-specific error reporting, take leadership roles in local communities, engage patients in these issues, and, of course, adhere to best practices.
  • Drug safety should be particularly targeted.
  • In the hypothetical case
    • A child presents at a pediatric clinic after a long hospitalization.
    • The clinician has no discharge summary or other information.
    • The mother mentions new medications but cannot remember them.
    • Exam reveals changes since the last visit.
    • Where did things go wrong? 

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