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Galiatsatos P, O'Conor KJ, Wilson C, et al. Health Secur. 2022;Epub Apr 26.
Stressful situations can degrade communication, teamwork and decision making. This commentary describes a program to minimize the potential impact of implicit biases in a crisis. Steps in the process include Pausing to Listen, working to Ally and Collaborate, and seeking to Empower patients and staff members.
Smith M, Vaughan Sarrazin M, Wang X, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1314-1324.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted healthcare delivery and contributed to delays in care. Based on a retrospective matched cohort of Medicare patients, this study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients who may be at risk for missed or delayed care. Researchers found that patients with four or more indicators for risk of missed or delayed care (e.g., chronic conditions, frailty, disability affecting use of telehealth) had higher mortality and lower rates of healthcare utilization, including primary care visits.
Estiri H, Strasser ZH, Rashidian S, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;Epub May 2.
While artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare may potentially improve some areas of patient care, its overall safety depends, in part, on the algorithms used to train it. One hospital developed four AI models at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to predict risks such as hospitalization or ICU admission. Researchers found inconsistent instances of model-level bias and recommend a holistic approach to search for unrecognized bias in health AI.
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.
Bhakta S, Pollock BD, Erben YM, et al. J Hosp Med. 2022;17:350-357.
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.

Chicago, IL: Harpo Productions, Smithsonian Channel: May 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the impact of racial disparities and inequities on patient safety for patients of color. This film shares stories of families whose care was unsafe. The cases discussed highlight how missed and dismissed COVID symptoms and inattention to patient and family concerns due to bias reduces patient safety.
Lim L, Zimring CM, DuBose JR, et al. HERD. 2022;Epub Apr 5.
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.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2022.

The COVID-19 crisis affected most health care processes, including diagnosis. This report recaps a session examining impacts of the pandemic on diagnostic approaches, inequities, and innovations that may inform future diagnostic improvement efforts.

Stein L, Fraser J, Penzenstadler N et al. USA Today. March 10, 2022.

Nursing home residents, staff, and care processes were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. This collection of resources examines data and documentation involving one nursing home chain to reveal systemic problems that contributed to failure. It shares family stories that illustrate how COVID affected care in long-term care environments.

Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationMarch 2, 2022.

The impact of nursing home inspections to ensure the quality and safety of the service environment is lacking. Weaknesses in the process became more explicit as poor long-term care infection control was determined to be a contributor to the early spread of COVID amongst nursing home residents. This announcement outlines a targeted inspection initiative to assess whether organizations previously sited have made progress toward improving workforce safety.
Mullur J, Chen Y-C, Wickner PG, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e431-e438.
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.

Levy R, Vestal AJ. Politico. February 19, 2022.

Transmission of COVID-19 in the health care setting continues to be a concern. This article discusses an analysis of US government statistics tracking hospital-acquired COVID-19 infections and reasons that control efforts may be lagging, which include visitor masking choices and health care worker return to work post-COVID-19 behaviors.
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.
Fleisher LA, Schreiber M, Cardo D, et al. N Engl J Med. 2022;386:609-611.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of health care. This commentary discusses its impact on patient safety. The authors discuss how the pandemic response dismantled strategies put in place to prevent healthcare-associated infections and falls, and stressors placed on both patients and healthcare workers directed attention away from ongoing safety improvement efforts. They argue that more resilience needs to be built into the system to ensure safety efforts are sustainable in challenging times.
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.
Messing EG, Abraham RS, Quinn NJ, et al. Am J Nurs. 2022;122.
When hospitals began to fill up with COVID-19 patients, new strategies had to be developed and implemented quickly to reduce the spread of the virus. This article describes one strategy implemented by a New York hospital: relocating smart intravenous (iv) infusion pumps outside of patient rooms. Challenges, facilitators, and lessons learned are discussed.