As more patients are gaining access to their electronic health records, including clinician notes, the language clinicians use can shape how patients feel about their health and healthcare provider. This commentary describes how some words and phrases routinely used in provider notes, such as “deny” or “non-compliant”, may inadvertently build distrust with the patient. The authors recommend medical students and providers reconsider their language to establish more trusting relationships with their patients.
Lee EH, Pitts S, Pignataro S, et al. Clin Teach. 2022;19:71-78.
The inherent power imbalance between supervisors and new clinicians may inhibit new clinicians from asking questions or reporting mistakes. This lack of psychological safety can result in patient harm and restrict learning. This article provides strategies for healthcare educators and leaders to model and guide a safer organization. Three phases of the supervisor-learner relationship, along with suggested prompts, are provided.
Sederstrom N, Lasege T. Hastings Cent Rep. 2022;52:s24-s29.
Racial bias and systemic racism in healthcare are increasingly seen as critical patient safety issues. This commentary discusses the relationship between medical ethics and racism in healthcare institutions, using examples such as racial biases in clinical tools and algorithms, the effect of racial bias on diagnosis and diagnostic error, and how excess disease burden can be viewed as proxy for racism.
Brady KJS, Barlam TF, Trockel MT, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:287-297.
Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics to treat viral illnesses is an ongoing patient safety threat. This study examined the association between clinician depression, anxiety, and burnout and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in outpatient care. Depression and anxiety, but not burnout, were associated with increased adjusted odds of inappropriate prescribing for RTIs.
Braun EJ, Singh S, Penlesky AC, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Apr 15.
Early warning systems (EWS) use patient data from the electronic health record to alert clinicians to potential patient deterioration. Twelve months after a new EWS was implemented in one hospital, nurses were interviewed to gather their perspectives on the program experience, utility, and implementation. Six themes emerged: timeliness, lack of accuracy, workflow interruptions, actionability of alerts, underappreciation of core nursing skills, and opportunity cost.
Buhlmann M, Ewens B, Rashidi A. J Adv Nurs. 2022;Epub Apr 22.
The term “second victims” describes clinicians who experience emotional or physical distress following involvement in an adverse event. Nurses and midwives were interviewed about “moving on” from the impact of a critical incident. Five main themes were identified: Initial emotional and physical response, the aftermath, long-lasting repercussions, workplace support, and moving on. Lack of organizational support exacerbated the nurses’ and midwives’ responses.
Carfora L, Foley CM, Hagi-Diakou P, et al. PLoS ONE. 2022;17:e0267030.
Patients are frequently asked to complete patient-reported outcome measures (PROM), or standardized questionnaires, to assess general quality of life, screen for specific conditions or risk factors, and perspectives on their health. This review identified 14 studies related to patient perspectives regarding PROMs. Three themes emerged: patient preferences regarding PROMs, patient perceived benefits, and barriers to patient engagement with PROMs.
Post-operative complications can lead to increased length of hospital stay, cost, and resource utilization. This retrospective study compared “fast track” patients (patients extubated and transferred from ICU to a step-down unit the same day as their procedure) and patients who were not fast tracked. Results showed fast track pathways led to a reduction in ICU and overall hospital length of stay and similar post-operative outcomes.
Morsø L, Birkeland S, Walløe S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:271-279.
Patient complaints can provide insights into safety threats and system weaknesses. This study used the healthcare complaints analysis tool (HCAT) to identify and categorize safety problems in emergency care. Most problems arose during examination/diagnosis and frequently resulted in diagnostic errors or errors of omission.
Ong N, Long JC, Weise J, et al. J Appl Res Intellect Disabil. 2022;35:675-690.
Children with intellectual disabilities can be at higher risk for patient safety events and poor-quality care. This systematic review and thematic analysis identified several themes (e.g., distress, communication, training, and education) underscoring healthcare staff experiences in providing care for pediatric patients with intellectual disabilities. The review found that healthcare staff feel they lack necessary skills to provide care for children with intellectual disabilities and have difficulties communicating effectively with both patients and their parents.
Redley B, Taylor N, Hutchinson AM. J Adv Nurs. 2022;Epub Apr 22.
Nurses play a critical role in reducing preventable harm among inpatients. This cross-sectional survey of nurses working in general medicine wards identified both enabling factors (behavioral regulation, perceived capabilities, and environmental context/resources) and barriers (intentions, perceived consequences, optimism, and professional role) to implementing comprehensive harm prevention programs for older adult inpatients.
Clinical decision support (CDS) systems are designed to improve diagnosis. Researchers surveyed emergency department physicians about their evaluation of human factors-based CDS systems to improve diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. Although perceived usability was high, use of the CDS tool in the real clinical environment was low; the authors identified several barriers to use, including lack of workflow integration.
Closed-loop communication is essential to effective teamwork, particularly during complex or high-intensity clinical scenarios. This study found that participation in a one-day simulation team training for pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurses led to significant improvements in closed-loop communication in real-life clinical situations.
Tan J, Krishnan S, Vacanti JC, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;42:9-14.
Inpatient falls are a common patient safety event and can have serious consequences. This study used hospital safety reporting system data to characterize falls in perioperative settings. Falls represented 1% of all safety reports between 2014 and 2020 and most commonly involved falls from a bed or stretcher. The author suggests strategies to identify patients at high risk for falls, improve fall-related training for healthcare personnel, and optimize equipment design in perioperative areas to prevent falls.
Sosa T, Galligan MM, Brady PW. J Hosp Med. 2022;17:199-202.
Situation awareness supports effective teamwork and safe care delivery. This commentary highlights the role of situation awareness in watching the condition of pediatric inpatients to reduce instances of unrecognized clinical deterioration. It features rapid response models enhanced by event review, psychological safety, and patient and family partnering as mechanisms improved through situation awareness.
Lim L, Zimring CM, DuBose JR, et al. HERD. 2022;15:28-41.
Social distancing policies implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic challenged healthcare system leaders and providers to balance infection prevention strategies and providing collaborative, team-based patient care. In this article, four primary care clinics made changes to the clinic design, operational protocols, and usage of spaces. Negative impacts of these changes, such as fewer opportunities for collaboration, communication, and coordination, were observed.
Davidson C, Denning S, Thorp K, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Apri 15.
People of color experience disproportionately higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. As part of a larger quality improvement and patient safety initiative to reduce severe maternal morbidity from hemorrhage (SMM-H), this hospital analyzed administrative data stratified by race and ethnicity, and noted a disparity between White and Black patients. Review of this data was integrated with the overall improvement bundle. Post-implementation results show that SMM-H rates for Black patients decreased.
Liu S, Kawamoto K, Del Fiol G, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;29:891-899.
Alert fatigue contributes to task burden and can threaten patient safety. In this study, researchers at one academic medical center found that machine learning techniques could enable intelligent filtering of medication alerts and reduce alert volume by 54%.
Mariyaselvam MZA, Patel V, Young HE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e387-e392.
A retained foreign object can lead to serious clinical consequences and is considered a never event. Researchers analyzed a national patient safety incident database to identify factors contributing to guidewire retention and potential preventative measures. Findings indicate that most retained guidewires are identified after the procedure. The authors suggest that system changes or design modifications to central venous catheter equipment is one approach to prevent guidewire attention.
Díez R, Cadenas R, Susperregui J, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:4313.
Older adults living in nursing homes are at increased risk of polypharmacy and its associated adverse outcomes, such as drug-drug interactions. The medication records of 222 older adult residents of one Spanish nursing home were screened for potential drug-drug adverse events. Nearly all included residents were taking at least one potentially inappropriate medication, and drug-drug interactions were common.
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