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The focus on patient safety in the ambulatory setting was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and appropriately shifting priorities to responding to the pandemic. This piece explores some of the core themes of patient safety in the ambulatory setting, including diagnostic safety and diagnostic errors. Ways to enhance patient safety in the ambulatory care setting and next steps in ambulatory care safety are addressed. 

De Micco F, Fineschi V, Banfi G, et al. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022;9:901788.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in the use of telehealth. This article summarizes several challenges that need to be addressed (e.g., human factors, provider-patient relationships, structural, and technological factors) in order to support continuous improvement in the safety of health care delivered via telemedicine.
Fawzy A, Wu TD, Wang K, et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182:730-738.
Black and brown patients have experienced disproportionately poorer outcomes from COVID-19 infection as compared with white patients. This study found that patients who identified as Asian, Black, or Hispanic may not have received timely diagnosis or treatment due to inaccurately measured pulse oximetry (SpO2). These inaccuracies and discrepancies should be considered in COVID outcome research as well as other respiratory illnesses that rely on SpO2 measurement for treatment.
Falk A-C, Nymark C, Göransson KE, et al. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2022:103276.
Needed nursing care that is delayed, partially completed, or not completed at all is known as missed nursing care (MNC). Researchers surveyed critical care registered nurses during two phases of the COVID-19 pandemic about recent missed nursing care, perceived quality of care, and contributing factors. There were no major changes in the types of, or reasons for, MNC compared to the reference survey completed in fall 2019.
Lefosse G, Rasero L, Bellandi T, et al. J Patient Saf Risk Manag. 2022;27:66-75.
Reducing healthcare-acquired infections is an ongoing patient safety goal. In this study, researchers used structured observations to explore factors contributing to healthcare-related infections in nursing homes in one region of Italy. Findings highlight the need to improve the physical care environment (e.g., room ventilation), handwashing compliance, and appropriate use of antibiotics.
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.
Galiatsatos P, O'Conor KJ, Wilson C, et al. Health Secur. 2022;20:261-263.
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.
Estiri H, Strasser ZH, Rashidian S, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2022;29:1334–1341.
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.

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.
Lim L, Zimring CM, DuBose JR, et al. HERD. 2022;15:28-41.
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.
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.

ECRI. Plymouth Meeting, PA. March 2022.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated patient safety concerns. ECRI presents the top ten patient concerns for 2022, including staffing challenges, human factors in telehealth, and supply chain disruptions.

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.
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.