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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.

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.

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.

Weber L, Jewett C. Kaiser Health News. 2021-2022.

The infectious nature of COVID continues to impact the safety of hospitalized patients. This article series examines factors contributing to hospital-acquired COVID-19 infection that include weaknesses in oversight, patient legal protections, and documentation.

Bever L, Chiu A. Washington Post. September 16, 2021. 

Throughout the COVID pandemic, patients have shown reluctance to seek medical care, which contributes to delayed diagnoses and treatments for non-COVID conditions. This news story suggests actions for patients to take to keep themselves safe from harm while accessing care during uncertain times.

Ellis NT, Broaddus A. CNN. August 25, 2021. 

Maternal safety is an ongoing challenge worldwide. This news feature examines how the COVID pandemic has revealed disparities and implicit biases that impact the maternal care of black women. The stories shared highlight experiences of mothers with preventable pregnancy-related complications.

Renault M. Stat. July 28, 2021.

Care and safety concerns for patients, families, and clinicians continue to be challenged by COVID-19. This article discusses the unintended consequences of isolation practices during the pandemic as a contributor to patient harm due to resultant family support barriers and loneliness they caused.

Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. June 24, 2021. Report No. 19-09808-171.

This report examined veterans' health clinic use of telemental health to identify safety challenges inherent in this approach before the expansion of telemedine during the COVID-19 crisis. The authors note the complexities in managing emergent mental health situations in virtual consultations. Recommendations for improvement included emergency preparedness planning, specific reporting of telemental health incidents and organized access to experts.

Kritz F. Shots. National Public Radio; May 24, 2021.

Health literacy efforts address challenges related to both language and effective communication tactics. This story discussed how lack of language and information clarity reduced patient education effectiveness during the pandemic and highlights several efforts to address them including information product translation services.

Bebinger M. WBUR and Kaiser Health News. April 27, 2021.

Non-English-speaking patients experience barriers to safely navigating the American healthcare system. This story discusses the impact that language and disparities had on care during the pandemic at one health system, and shares outreach communication and translation strategies to improve care safety.

Zeynep Tufekci. The Atlantic. February 26, 2021

Failures in communication have impacts on patients, teams, organizations and society. This article discusses five weaknesses in pandemic messaging that were counterproductive including use of shaming instead of empathy to engage the public, lack of detail on suggested strategies and insufficient advice to support public adoption of harm reduction activities.

Armstrong D. Allen M. ProPublica. February 18, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed systemic weaknesses in health care access and delivery. This story examines how equipment shortages affected treatment decisions to culminate in rationing of needed therapies and contributed to patient deaths.

Wamsley L. National Public Radio and WBUR. December 7, 2020.

Testing for COVID-19 is a core public safety strategy for pandemic management. This news story discusses how a lack of health care workers’ virus status knowledge could contribute to spread. Barriers inherent to a universal testing strategy include operational challenges, patient testing volume, and availability of health care workers to provide care during the pandemic should clinicians test positive.

Yong E. The Atlantic. November 13, 2020.

Stressful working conditions are known to increase the potential for medical mistakes. This article shares the perspectives of acute care staff about the emotional and physical toll they've experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wu KJ. New York Times. October 25, 2020.

False-positive test results, while rare, can create conditions for patient harm. This news story discusses negative impacts of a false-positive COVID test. The unintended consequences of the mistake could be unneeded isolation, inappropriate treatment and patient exposure to infection due to isolation strategies in care facilities.  
Czeisler MÉ, Marynak K, Clarke KEN, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69:1250-1257.
This nationwide survey of U.S. adults found that many respondents (40.9%) have avoided routine, urgent and emergent medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Avoidance of urgent or emergency care was significantly higher among unpaid caregivers for adults; persons with underlying medical conditions; persons with health insurance; non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic, or Latino adults; young adults; and persons with disabilities.

Ashworth S. Elemental. September 22, 2020.

The rate of autopsies – the “gold standard” of death investigation – are decreasing worldwide. This commentary highlights the lost opportunities for hospital and clinician learning from mistakes due this decline. The author ties the relevance of the loss to missed opportunities for understanding the effect of COVID-19 on the body to inform diagnostic, treatment and prevention activities.