Obstetric and gynecologic (OB/GYN) physicians are frequently involved in malpractice lawsuits, some of which result in catastrophic payouts. This study categorized malpractice claims involving OB/GYN trainees (students, residents, and fellows) between 1986 and 2020. Cases are categorized by type of injury, patient outcome, category of error, outcome of lawsuit, and amount of settlement.
A 2009 CMS Condition of Participation (CoP) requires that a director of anesthesia services assume overall responsibility for anesthesia administered in the hospital, including procedural sedation provided by nonanesthesiologists. This article reviews the CoP as it relates to procedural sedation, lays out a framework for implementing this role, and describes challenges of implementation in a large health system.
Gibney BT, Roberts JM, D'Ortenzio RM, et al. RadioGraphics. 2021;41:2111-2126.
Hospitals are increasingly creating and updating their emergency disaster response plans. This guide assists hospital executives, quality & safety professionals, and risk managers by assessing potential hazards or failures in radiology departments in the event of disaster. Disaster planning tools, checklists, and other recommendations are described.
Yonash RA, Taylor M. Patient Safety. 2020;2:24-39.
Wrong-site surgeries can lead to serious patient harm and are considered never events by the National Quality Forum. Based on events reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System between 2015 and 2019, the authors identified an average of 1.42 wrong-site surgery events per week and found that three-quarters of events resulted in temporary or permanent patient harm. The authors present several evidence-based strategies to reduce the likelihood of wrong-site surgery, including preoperative and intraoperative verification, site marking, and timeouts.
Macrae C, Draycott T. Safety Sci. 2019;117:490-500.
Simulation training can enhance teamwork, identify latent problems, and contribute to improved patient outcomes. This commentary explores the value of frontline obstetric simulation to develop high reliability. The authors discuss relational rehearsal, system structuring, and practice elaboration as elements of a successful simulation-focused organizational learning initiative.
Ansari SP, Rayfield ME, Wallis VA, et al. J Patient Saf. 2020;16:e359-e366.
This study describes a multidisciplinary human factors training intervention for labor and delivery care that included communication training and simulation work. Researchers found that safety culture improved compared to preintervention scores.
Greer JA, Haischer-Rollo G, Delorey D, et al. Cureus. 2019;11:e4096.
This pre–post study examined the effect of team training on an emergency response team's performance in a perinatal emergency simulation. Following the training, performance in the simulation identified more latent safety threats and adherence to a safety checklist increased. The authors suggest that team training can enhance maternal safety.
Sherman JP, Hedli LC, Kristensen-Cabrera AI, et al. Am J Perinatol. 2020;37:638-646.
This direct observation study examined maternal and neonatal care at 10 labor and delivery units. Investigators uncovered three environmental needs that impact safety: rapid access to blood products, space for neonatal resuscitation, and organization and availability of equipment and supplies. They conclude that applying design thinking to physical space could improve maternal and neonatal safety.
Lefebvre G, Calder LA, De Gorter R, et al. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2019;41:653-659.
Obstetrics is a high-risk practice that concurrently manages the safety of mothers and newborns. This commentary describes the importance of standardization, checklist use, auditing and feedback, peer coaching, and interdisciplinary communication as strategies to reduce risks. The discussion spotlights the need for national guidelines and definitions to reduce variation in auditing and training activities and calls for heightened engagement of health care professionals to improve the safety and quality of obstetric care in Canada. An Annual Perspective reviewed work on improving maternal safety.
Maternal mortality is a sentinel event that affects mothers and families across a wide range of socioeconomic characteristics. This commentary explores how data collection gaps, medical errors, ineffective treatments, and care coordination weaknesses contribute to preventable maternal death. The author highlights efforts to improve safety in maternity care such as best practice bundles to ensure teams and clinicians are prepared for certain complications.
Rönnerhag M, Severinsson E, Haruna M, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2019;75:585-593.
Inadequate communication in obstetrics can compromise safety. In this qualitative study, researchers conducted focus groups of multidisciplinary teams including obstetricians, midwives, and nurses working in a single maternity ward to examine their perceptions of adverse events during childbirth. Analysis of data collected suggests that support for high-quality interprofessional teamwork is important for safe maternity care.
Romijn A, Ravelli A, de Bruijne MC, et al. BJOG. 2019;126:907-914.
This cluster-randomized trial examined whether a team training intervention would improve perinatal and maternal outcomes for singleton births without congenital abnormalities, on or after 32 weeks gestation. Researchers found no significant change in incidence of adverse outcomes, suggesting that simulation-based training alone is not sufficient to optimize perinatal safety.
Hatch D, Rivard M, Bolton J, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:295-303.
The authors describe how the use of statistical process control charts facilitated rapid identification of a cluster of unplanned extubations in a neonatal intensive care unit. They advocate for the use of continuous monitoring tools to help alert teams to possible safety events and improvement opportunities.
Maternal harm is a sentinel event that has garnered increased attention in both policy and clinical environments. This qualitative study combined direct observation and interviews to understand the characteristics that enabled a high-performing maternity ward to achieve their excellent safety outcomes. Investigators identified a set of specific, evidence-based safety practices including standardization, monitoring, and emphasis on technical skill. They also identified a strong and consistent safety culture and noted that structural conditions, such as staffing levels and the physical environment, supported safe outcomes. The authors conclude that all of these factors influence each other and jointly produce safety. A recent Annual Perspective summarized national initiatives to improve safety in maternity care.
Kahwati LC, Sorensen A, Teixeira-Poit S, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019;45:231-240.
Labor and delivery is an inherently high-risk care setting. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality adapted its Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program, a best practice toolkit incorporating teamwork, human factors engineering principles, and simulation training, for labor and delivery. In this pre–post evaluation study, staff reported improved safety culture and teamwork. Obstetric trauma and primary cesarean delivery rates declined after the intervention, but neonatal birth trauma rates increased. The authors note that incomplete implementation and lack of sustained program participation observed in the study should be addressed in order to improve obstetric and neonatal care safety. A recent Annual Perspective emphasizes the rising rate of severe maternal morbidity and summarizes national initiatives to improve safety in maternity care.
Kozhimannil KB. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1901-1904.
Maternal harm is a sentinel event that is gaining increased attention in both policy and clinical environments. In this commentary, the author relates her family history of maternal morbidity and mortality and advocates for enhancements in collecting data on maternal health outcomes, access to care, understanding of racial disparities, accountability, and listening to patients and families who have been impacted by unsafe maternal care.
Suplee PD, Bingham D, Kleppel L. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2017;42:338-344.
Reducing morbidity and mortality is a major safety priority in obstetric care. This survey study of nurses caring for postpartum women found that the majority of nurses in the study were not familiar with the major causes of maternal mortality and that education provided to postpartum patients was inadequate.
Maslove DM, Dubin JA, Shrivats A, et al. Crit Care Med. 2016;44:e1021-e1030.
Vital signs remain a mainstay of monitoring for deterioration, and early identification of and rapid response to clinical deterioration is critical to preventing patient harm. This observational study used an automated technique to characterize vital sign measurement for nearly 50,000 intensive care unit stays. Investigators found that omission of vital sign recording occurred more than one third of the time. The analysis identified logically inconsistent blood pressure measurements, which suggested data-entry error. The data included a significant proportion of unusual, outlier vital sign values. Taken together, these results demonstrate important inaccuracy in vital sign documentation in the intensive care unit. The authors recommend seeking alternatives to hourly vital sign monitoring in order to optimize safety. A previous WebM&M commmentary discussed challenges in monitoring vital signs.
Bennett SC, Finer N, Halamek LP, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2016;42:369-76.
Checklists and debriefing improve patient safety across multiple care settings. In this quality improvement initiative, participating hospitals reported high levels of adherence and satisfaction to a protocol for neonatal resuscitation that included a checklist, briefings, and debriefings. The authors advocate for these safety processes to be included in neonatal resuscitation guidelines.
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