Sonis J, Pathman DE, Read S, et al. J Healthc Manag. 2022;67:192-205.
Lack of organizational support can inhibit safety culture and increase risk of burnout among healthcare workers. Researchers surveyed internal medicine physicians to explore how institutional actions and policies influenced perceived organizational support (POS) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher POS was associated with opportunities to discuss ethnical issues related to COVID-19, adequate access to personal protective equipment, and leadership communication regarding healthcare worker concerns regarding COVID-19. High POS was also associated with lower odds of screening positive for burnout, mental health systems, and intention to leave the profession.
Klatt TE, Sachs JF, Huang C-C, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:759-767.
This article describes the implementation of a peer support program for “second victims” in a US healthcare system. Following training, peer supporters assisted at-risk colleagues, raised awareness of second victim syndrome, and recruited others for training. The effectiveness of the training was assessed using the Second Victim Experience Support Tool. The most common event supported was inability to stop the progress of a medical condition, including COVID-19.
Preston-Suni K, Celedon MA, Cordasco KM. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:673-676.
Presenteeism among healthcare workers – continuing to work while sick – has been attributed to various cultural and system factors, such as fear of failing colleagues or patients. This commentary discusses the patient safety and ethical considerations of presenteeism during the COVID-19 pandemic
Andel SA, Tedone AM, Shen W, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;78:121-130.
During the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, 120 nurses were surveyed about nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, skill mix, and near misses in their hospitals. Personnel understaffing led to increased use of workarounds, and expertise understaffing led to increased cognitive failures, both of which shaped near misses. Hospital leaders should recognize both forms of understaffing when making staffing decisions, particularly during times of crisis.
Polancich S, Hall AG, Miltner RS, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2021;43:137-144.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of health care delivery, including how hospitals prevent common hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure injuries. Based on retrospective data, the authors of this study did not identify a longitudinal increase in hospital-acquired pressure injuries between March and July 2020. The authors discuss how prior organizational efforts to reduce hospital-acquired pressure injuries allowed their hospital to quickly adapt existing workflows and processes to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient safety in the healthcare system is still unknown. New patient safety concerns have been introduced, and existing concerns have been exacerbated. The authors suggest several high reliability strategies to prevent and learn from patient safety hazards, including transparency, a culture of safety, and continuous analysis of errors.
Haidari E, Main EK, Cui X, et al. J Perinatol. 2021;41:961-969.
High levels of healthcare worker (HCW) burnout may be associated with lower levels of patient safety and quality. In June 2020, three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, 288 maternity and neonatal HCWs were asked about their perspectives on well-being and patient safety. Two-thirds of respondents reported symptoms of burnout and only one-third reported adequate organizational support to meet these challenges. Organizations are encouraged to implement programs to reduce burnout and support HCW well-being.
Health systems are rapidly adjusting and adapting processes to successfully respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Pennsylvania Health System developed the I-READI (integration, root cause analysis, evidence review, adaptation, dissemination, and implementation) conceptual framework to assist hospitals in preparing for and responding to patient safety challenges during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The I-READI approach can streamline communication, enrich collaboration, and coordinate rapid change through the use of daily safety huddles, root cause analysis, and technology (e.g., ICU telemedicine and real-time ICU dashboards).
Begun JW, Jiang HJ. NEJM Catalyst. October 9, 2020.
Complexity science provides a foundation to manage and learn from crisis. This report using case studies to highlight how complexity constructs can address health care system stressors due to the COVID pandemic. The authors also describe how to apply that experience to learn from crisis situations to better respond as future challenges emerge.
Dubé MM, Kaba A, Cronin T, et al. Adv Simul (Lond). 2020;5:22.
This article describes the planning and implementation of a multi-site, multidisciplinary simulation program to provide critical just-in-time COVID-19 education in one Canadian province. The authors discuss the unique features and advantages of a centralized simulation response and key themes of the simulation program.
This article takes a holistic view of the multiple preventable failures of the U.S. in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, raising several patient safety issues from the metasystems perspective. The piece highlights systemic problems such as lack of transparency, investment in public health and learning from experience.
Singh H, Sittig DF, Gandhi TK. BMJ Qual Saf. 2021;30:141-145.
This Viewpoint presents examples of short-term positive effects resulting from early COVID-19-related patient safety efforts, including a focus on (1) high-reliability organizations and safety culture focusing on transparency, collaboration, reporting, and speaking up, (2) prioritizing workplace safety, and (3) removing barriers to using health IT (e.g., EHRs, telemedicine) to improve safety and how to create some permanent/sustainable methods to prevent harm.
Rangachari P, L. Woods J. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17:4267.
This article discusses the impact of the lack of healthcare worker support on resilience, patient safety, and staff retention during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides recommendations for better supporting psychological safety among healthcare workers.
Thull-Freedman J, Mondoux S, Stang A, et al. CJEM. 2020;22:738-741.
This commentary reviews the principles of high reliability organizations and their application to emergency department pandemic response and describes the experience of one children’s hospital in Alberta, Canada applying these principles in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Actions taken by the hospital included the use of an interprofessional ED quality council to identify processes where high reliability is essential in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as resuscitations, intubations, donning and doffing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and preventing contamination.
The authors present a nomenclature to describe eight types of diagnostic errors anticipated in the COVID-19 pandemic (classic, anomalous, anchor, secondary, acute collateral, chronic collateral, strain and unintended diagnostic errors) and highlight mitigation strategies to reduce potentially preventable harm, including the use of electronic decision support, communication tactics such as visual aids, and huddles. Organizational strategies (e.g., peer-support, duty hour limits, and forums for transparent communication) and state/federal guidance around testing and monitoring diagnostic performance are also discussed.
Accidental harm to patients is a persistent challenge in health care. This interview features Dr. Danielle Ofri who provides an overview of error in medicine. She draws from both general and COVID-19 pandemic care experiences to illustrate the difficulties involved in measuring, understanding and improving patient safety.
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