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.
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.
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.
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.
Wieringa S, Neves AL, Rushforth A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;Epub Mar 8.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased the use of telehealth, including remote primary care triage and assessment. This qualitative study explored patients’ and clinicians’ experiences managing suspected COVID-19 during remote triage and assessment. Findings highlight the need to strengthen organizational resilience, develop and implement triage decision support tools, and address vulnerable and unsupported groups (e.g., the elderly, vulnerable and homebound patients).
The COVID pandemic has increased demand and acceptance of remote care modalities. This commentary suggests that home monitoring is a promising telehealth approach and that its application could improve value while enhancing safety for hospital-at-home and other levels of home-based care patients.
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.
Etheridge JC, Moyal-Smith R, Sonnay Y, et al. Int J Surg. 2022;98:106210.
Non-technical skills such as communication, teamwork, decision-making, and situational awareness are responsible for a significant proportion of surgical errors. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the stress in the operating room, associated with increased risk of exposure and shortage of resources. This study compared pre- and post-COVID direct observations during live operations and found that non-technical skills were equivalent; there was a small, but statistically significant, improvement in teamwork and cooperation skills.
Coen M, Sader J, Junod-Perron N, et al. Intern Emerg Med. 2022;17:979-988.
The uncertainty and pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic can introduce cognitive biases leading to diagnostic errors. Researchers asked primary care providers taking care of COVID-19 adult patients to describe cases when their clinical reasoning was “disrupted” due to the pandemic. The most common cognitive biases were anchoring bias, confirmation bias, availability bias, and cognitive dissonance.
Missed or incomplete nursing care can adversely affect care quality and safety. Based on survey responses from 295 frontline nurses in the Philippines, this study explored factors contributing to missed nursing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings suggest that nurses most frequently missed tasks such as patient surveillance, comforting patients, skin care, ambulation, and oral hygiene. The authors suggest that increasing nurse staffing, adequate use of personal protective equipment, and improved safety culture may reduce instances of missed care.
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