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Winning AM, Merandi J, Rausch JR, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17(8):531-540.
Healthcare professionals involved in a medical error often experience psychological distress. This article describes the validation of a revised version of the Second Victim Experience and Support Tool (SVEST-R), which was expanded to include measures of resilience and desired forms of support.
Wallis CJD, Jerath A, Coburn N, et al. JAMA Surg. 2021;Epub Dec 9.
Gender, racial, and ethnic disparities in healthcare can adversely impact patient safety and lead to poor outcomes. This retrospective study examined surgeon-patient sex discordance and perioperative outcomes among adult patients in Ontario, Canada, undergoing common elective or emergent surgical procedures from 2007 to 2019. Among 1.3 million patients, sex discordance between surgeon and patient was associated with a significant increased likelihood of adverse perioperative outcomes, including death. Subgroup analyses indicate that this relationship is driven by worse outcomes among female patients treated by male surgeons.
Brenner MJ, Boothman RC, Rushton CH, et al. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2021;55(1).
This three-part series offers an in-depth look into the core values of honesty, transparency, and trust. Part 1, Promoting Professionalism, introduces interventions to increase provider professionalism. Part 2, Communication and Transparency, describes the commitment to honesty and transparency across the continuum of the patient-provider relationship. Part 3, Health Professional Wellness, describes the impact of harm on providers and offers recommendations for restoring wellness and joy in work.
Loren DL, Lyerly AD, Lipira L, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manag. 2021;26(5):200-206.
Effective communication between patients and providers – including after an adverse event – is essential for patient safety. This qualitative study identified unique challenges experienced by parents and providers when communicating about adverse birth outcomes – high expectations, powerful emotions, rapid change and progression, family involvement, multiple patients and providers involved, and litigious environment. The authors outline strategies recommended by parents and providers to address these challenges.
Flowerdew L, Tipping M. Emerg Med J. 2021;38(10):769-775.
This study sought to validate an emergency department (ED) safety questionnaire developed in the United States, and adapted for use in the UK. The survey was validated by 33 patient safety leads and used in a multi-center survey. Analysis highlighted risks and positive factors (e.g., positive safety culture) present in surveyed EDs.
Finney RE, Czinski S, Fjerstad K, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:312-317.
The term “second victim” refers to a healthcare professional who was involved in a medical error and subsequently experiences psychological distress. An American children’s hospital implemented a peer support program for “second victims” in 2019. Healthcare providers were surveyed before and after implementation of the program with results showing the highest ranked option for support following a traumatic clinical event is peer support. Most respondents indicated they were likely to use the program if a future clinical event were to occur.

National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health. Manchester, UK: University of Manchester; May 31, 2021

System failures require multifactorial assessment to install targeted improvements. This toolkit examines 10 areas of focus for organizations to assess the safety of mental health services in emergent and primary care settings to minimize patient suicide and self-harm. Areas of focus include post-discharge follow-up, admissions, and family engagement.
Khidir H, McWilliams JM, O’Malley AJ, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2125193.
While racial, ethnic, and gender biases have been widely documented at the system level, it has not been well documented at the individual physician level. This analysis of 4.5 million emergency department visits in the US showed variation in hospital admission rates among physicians, but an individual physician’s propensity to admit patients did not vary by patient sociodemographic group.

This piece discusses an expanded view of maternal and infant safety that includes the concept of whole-person care, which addresses the structural and social determinants of maternal health.

Alison Stuebe, MD, MSc, is a professor and Division Director for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and the co-director of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health. Kristin Tully, PhD, is a research assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC Chapel Hill and a member of the Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health.

D'Angelo JD, Lund S, Busch RA, et al. Surgery. 2021;170(2):440-445.
This study evaluated the type and effectiveness of resident and faculty coping strategies following an intraoperative error and the interaction with physician gender. Results show that while men and women surgeons experience adverse events at approximately the same rate, the coping methods utilized and effectiveness of the methods varied.
Grailey K, Leon-Villapalos C, Murray E, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11(8):e046699.
Psychological safety enables staff to raise concerns, reduce mistakes and learn from errors. The majority of surveyed intensive care unit staff in three units within one trust in London reported feeling psychologically safe within their teams (e.g. being able to bring up problems). In a novel finding, this study identified potential negative consequences of psychological safety, including distraction and fatigue for team leaders.

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.

Ensuring maternal safety is a patient safety priority. This library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on improving maternal safety. Included resources explore strategies with the potential to improve maternal care delivery and outcomes, such as high reliability, care standardization, teamwork, unit-based safety initiatives, and trigger tools.

Liese KL, Davis-Floyd R, Stewart K, et al. Anthropol Med. 2021;28(2):188-204.
This article draws on interviews and observations to explore medical iatrogenesis in obstetric care. The authors discuss how various factors – such as universal management plans, labor and delivery interventions, and informed consent – contribute to iatrogenic harm and worse perinatal outcomes for racial/ethnic minority patients.
Hackenberg EAM, Sallinen V, Handolin L, et al. J Interpers Violence. 2021;36(15-16):7832-7854.
Victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) may seek care at emergency departments. This study of self-reporting IPV victims found that while serious injuries were rare, many victims had suffered extreme violence and approximately half had risk factors for re-abuse. Fewer than 20% were referred to victim advocacy resources.
Allison MK, Marshall SA, Stewart G, et al. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2021;61(4):396-405.
Transgender and gender nonbinary (trans/NB) people can face discriminatory behaviors when accessing health care services. Trans/NB patients were interviewed about their experiences accessing care in emergency departments. Four themes were uncovered: 1) system and structural issues; 2) interactions with clinicians/staff; 3) perceptions of clinician knowledge and education; and 4) impact on future health and healthcare access. Recommendations for improvement were provided at the system and clinician level.
Diabes MA, Ervin JN, Davis BS, et al. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2021;18(6):1027-1033.
A key feature of safety culture is the psychological safety of all staff to feel empowered to speak up about errors or mistakes. In this study of intensive care unit clinicians, job strain, leader inclusiveness and perception of teamwork were associated with psychological safety. However, psychological safety was not associated with performance of either spontaneous breathing trials or lung-protective ventilation. Future research should focus on strategies to improve psychological safety in intensive care units.
Kruper A, Domeyer-Klenske A, Treat R, et al. J Surg Educ. 2021;78(3):1024-1034.
Physicians commonly experience adverse psychological outcomes after being involved in an adverse event. This mixed-methods study of health care providers in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at one large academic hospital found that three-quarters of providers experienced symptoms of traumatic stress after involvement in an adverse event. Respondents reporting anxiety were more likely to be interested in peer-to-peer support programs, whereas those reporting symptoms of guilt preferred debriefing sessions.