The AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators (PSI) capture the quality and safety in inpatient care and identify potential complications. This study compares the incidence of PSI-12 (perioperative venous thromboembolism (VTE)) in patients with and without acute COVID-19 infection. Patients with acute COVID-19 infection were at increased risk for meeting the criteria for PSI-12, despite receiving appropriate care. The researchers suggest taking this into consideration and updating PSIs, as appropriate.
Gilbert GL, Kerridge I. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:504.
Hospital transmission of COVID-19 has necessitated review of organization infection prevention and control (IPC) policies and practices. This study, conducted before the pandemic, compared IPC attitudes and practices of nurses and physicians, and how these differences affect interpersonal relationships. Both professions described unflattering and stereotypical behaviors of the other (i.e., doctors are unaware or disdainful of IPC; “bossy” nurses). Many IPC policies implemented during the pandemic, such as encouraging all healthcare workers to speak up about infection prevention breaches, were accepted by both professions, and the authors recommend seizing on this interprofessional unity to continue adherence to all IPC policies.
Alboksmaty A, Beaney T, Elkin S, et al. The Lancet Digital Health. 2022;4:e279-e289.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a rapid transition of healthcare from in-person to remote and virtual care. This review assessed the safety and effectiveness of pulse oximetry in remote patient monitoring (RPM) of patients at home with COVID-19. Results show RPM was safe for patients in identifying risk of deterioration. However, it was not evident whether remote pulse oximetry was more effective than other virtual methods, such as virtual visits, monitoring consultations, or online or paper diaries.
Tham N, Fazio T, Johnson D, et al. World J Surg. 2022;46:1249-1258.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to changes in infection control and prevention measures to limit nosocomial spread. This retrospective cohort study found that escalations in infection prevention and control practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect the incidence of other hospital-acquired infections among surgical patients at one Australian hospital. The authors posit that this may be due to high compliance with existing infection prevention and control practices pre-pandemic.
Mahomedradja RF, van den Beukel TO, van den Bos M, et al. BMC Emerg Med. 2022;22:35.
The potential for medication errors may increase due to redeployment and reorganization of hospital resources during COVID-19 surges. In this study of patients hospitalized during the first wave of the pandemic, over 90% had at least one prescribing error three months after hospitalization. Intensive care unit admission and a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma were risk factors for prescribing errors. Acknowledging and understanding these risk factors allows hospital leadership to target interventions for this population.
Wieringa S, Neves AL, Rushforth A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 8.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased the use of telehealth, including remote primary care triage and assessment. This qualitative study explored patients’ and clinicians’ experiences managing suspected COVID-19 during remote triage and assessment. Findings highlight the need to strengthen organizational resilience, develop and implement triage decision support tools, and address vulnerable and unsupported groups (e.g., the elderly, vulnerable and homebound patients).
COVID-19 restrictions and patient safety concerns have greatly expanded the use of telehealth and virtual visits. Through patient satisfaction surveys and patient complaints, this US hospital evaluated the quality and safety of virtual visits in March and April of 2020. Five patient complaints were submitted during this timeframe and overall patient satisfaction remained high. Safety and quality risks were identified (e.g., diagnostic error) and best practices were established.
Etheridge JC, Moyal-Smith R, Sonnay Y, et al. Int J Surg. 2022;98:106210.
Non-technical skills such as communication, teamwork, decision-making, and situational awareness are responsible for a significant proportion of surgical errors. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the stress in the operating room, associated with increased risk of exposure and shortage of resources. This study compared pre- and post-COVID direct observations during live operations and found that non-technical skills were equivalent; there was a small, but statistically significant, improvement in teamwork and cooperation skills.
Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization and International Labour Organization; 2022. ISBN 9789240040779.
Workforce well-being emerged as a key component of patient safety during the COVID-19 crisis. This report supplies international perspectives for informing the establishment of national regulations and organization-based programs to strengthen efforts aiming to develop health industry workforce health and safety strategies.
Missed or incomplete nursing care can adversely affect care quality and safety. Based on survey responses from 295 frontline nurses in the Philippines, this study explored factors contributing to missed nursing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings suggest that nurses most frequently missed tasks such as patient surveillance, comforting patients, skin care, ambulation, and oral hygiene. The authors suggest that increasing nurse staffing, adequate use of personal protective equipment, and improved safety culture may reduce instances of missed care.
Lombardi J, Strobel S, Pullar V, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Feb 10.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed healthcare delivery and has raised new patient safety concerns. This retrospective study investigated the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on patient safety incidents at one health system in Ontario, Canada. Researchers identified significant changes in the composition of events – such as increase in falls – which may reflect changes in care processes (e.g., reduced patient surveillance, use of personal protective equipment) occurring during that time.
Peat G, Olaniyan JO, Fylan B, et al. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2022;Epub Jan 28.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of healthcare delivery for both patients and health care workers. This study explored the how COVID-19-related policies and initiatives intended to improve patient safety impacted workflow, system adaptations, as well as organizational and individual resilience among community pharmacists.
Khoong EC, Sharma AE, Gupta K, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2022;37:1270-1274.
In response to concerns about COVID-19 transmission, many ambulatory care visits have transitioned to telehealth visits. This commentary describes the impact of telehealth on diagnostic errors and medication safety in ambulatory settings. Recommendations to further understand the impact of telemedicine on patient safety include: systematically measuring patient safety outcomes and increasing reporting of safety incidents; identifying the patients and clinical scenarios with the greatest risk of unsafe telehealth care; identifying and supporting best practices to ensure equal access to safe telehealth.
Vogus TJ, Wilson AD, Randall KH, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:230-233.
Achieving high-reliability remains a goal for hospitals and care teams. The authors of this commentary discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted high-reliability practices and suggest a more inclusive approach to creating and sustaining high reliability by involving patients, families, and other types of care professionals (such as chaplains, social workers).
Fakih MG, Bufalino A, Sturm L, et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2021;43:26-31.
Central line-associated blood steam infection (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) prevention were an important part of patient safety prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study compared CLABSI and CAUTI rates in 78 hospitals during the 12-month period prior to the pandemic and the first 6 months of the pandemic. CLABSI rates increased by 51% during the pandemic period, mainly in the ICU. CAUTI rates did not show significant changes.
Gandhi TK. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:61-64.
Families and caregivers play an important role in ensuring patient safety. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and, to a lesser extent, during surges, family and caregiver visitation was severely restricted. This commentary advocates reassessing risks and benefits of restricted visitation, both during the pandemic and beyond.
Shen L, Levie A, Singh H, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:71-80.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges associated with diagnostic error. This study used natural language processing to identify and categorize diagnostic errors occurring during the pandemic. The study compared a review of all patient safety reports explicitly mentioning COVID-19, and using natural language processing, identified additional safety reports involving COVID-19 diagnostic errors and delays. This innovative approach may be useful for organizations wanting to identify emerging risks, including safety concerns related to COVID-19.
Hennus MP, Young JQ, Hennessy M, et al. ATS Sch. 2021;2:397-414.
The surge of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic forced the redeployment of non-intensive care certified staff into intensive care units (ICU). This study surveyed both intensive care (IC)-certified and non-IC-certified healthcare providers who were working in ICUs at the beginning of the pandemic. Qualitative synthesis identified five themes related to supervision; quality and safety of care; collaboration, communication, and climate; recruitment, scheduling and team composition, and; organization and facilities. The authors provide recommendations for future deployments.
Mo Y, Eyre DW, Lumley SF, et al. PLoS Med. 2021;18:e1003816.
Nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 is an ongoing concern given the pressures faced by hospitals and healthcare workers during the pandemic. This observational study using data from four hospitals in the United Kingdom found that patients with hospital-onset COVID-19 (compared to suspected community-acquired infections) are associated with high risk of nosocomial transmissions to other patients and healthcare workers.
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