Fleisher LA, Schreiber M, Cardo D, et al. N Engl J Med. 2022;386:609-611.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of health care. This commentary discusses its impact on patient safety. The authors discuss how the pandemic response dismantled strategies put in place to prevent healthcare-associated infections and falls, and stressors placed on both patients and healthcare workers directed attention away from ongoing safety improvement efforts. They argue that more resilience needs to be built into the system to ensure safety efforts are sustainable in challenging times.
Mital R, Lovegrove MC, Moro RN, et al. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2022;31:225-234.
Accidental ingestion of over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines (CCMs) among children can result in adverse events. This study used national surveillance data to characterize emergency department (ED) visits for harms related to OTC CCM use and discusses differences by patient demographics, intent of use, and concurrent substance use.
Rosenthal CM, Parker DM, Thompson LA. JAMA Pediatr. 2022;176:119-120.
The care of child abuse victims is affected by resource, racial and infrastructure challenges. This commentary describes how the systemic weaknesses catalyzed by poor data collection approaches contribute to misdiagnosis and suggests that successes be mined to minimize the proliferation of continued disparities in this patient population.
Keister LA, Stecher C, Aronson B, et al. BMC Public Health. 2021;21:1518.
Constrained diagnostic situations in the emergency department (ED), such as crowding, can impact safe care. Based on multiple years of electronic health record data from one ED at a large U.S. hospital, researchers found that providers were significantly less likely to prescribe opioids during constrained diagnostic situations and less likely to prescribe opioids to high-risk patients or racial/ethnic minorities.
Liese KL, Davis-Floyd R, Stewart K, et al. Anthropol Med. 2021;28:188-204.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of health care delivery and has placed unprecedented pressure on health care workers. This consensus statement, based on input from an international panel of individuals with expertise in health leadership, health care, and public health, outlines 10 imperatives to guide health and public leaders during the post emergency stage of the pandemic. Imperatives addressed in the framework include supporting staff well-being and psychological health, preparing for future emergencies, managing the backlog of delayed care, and the importance of sustaining learning, innovations and collaborations that arose during the pandemic.
This cross-sectional study examined whether racial/ethnic disparities in interhospital transfers (IHT) for common medical diagnoses such as heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and sepsis, impact mortality outcomes. The authors analyzed 899,557 patients and reported that Black patients had lower odds of IHT compared to White patients, while Hispanic patient had higher odds of IHT compared with White patients. The authors propose several possible explanations including differences in Black and Hispanic willingness to transfer, impact of insurance status and reimbursement rates, coding inaccuracies, and other complex dynamics for their findings.
Postorino M, Treglia M, Giammatteo J, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17:8834.
Telehealth benefits, barriers, and challenges have become more apparent due to its increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study evaluated 3,828 telehealth examinations (telephone, email) and found that the incidence of serious or minor adverse events was less than 0.50%.
Brooks Carthon M, Brom H, McHugh MD, et al. Med Care. 2021;59:169-176.
Prior research has shown that lower nurse-to-patient ratios are associated with increased patient mortality. This cross-sectional analysis using multiple data sources from four states assessed the relationship between nurse staffing and survival disparities after in-hospital cardiac arrest. Results indicate that disparities in survival between black and white patients may be linked to medical-surgical nurse staffing levels, and that the benefit of being treated at a hospital with higher staffing ratios may be especially pronounced for black patients.
Braithwaite J, Vincent C, Garcia-Elorrio E, et al. BMC Med. 2020;18:340.
Delivering high-quality, safe healthcare requires coordination and integration of complex systems and activities. The authors propose three initiatives to further practical opportunities for transforming health systems across the world – a country-specific blueprint for change, tangible steps to reduce inequities within and across health systems, and learning from both errors and successes to improve safe care delivery.
Levy N, Zucco L, Ehrlichman RJ, et al. Anesthesiology. 2020;133:985-996.
This article describes the experience of one hospital in eastern Massachusetts implementing rapid response capabilities in an innovative, hybrid acute care-intensive care unit. Health system leadership used failure modes and effect analysis, process mapping, and on-site walkthroughs to identify potential hazards and opportunities for risk mitigation, as well as in situ simulation drills to facilitate team training.
Khan A, Yin HS, Brach C, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174:e203215.
Language barriers between patients and providers is a potential contributor to adverse events. Based on a cohort of 1,666 Arabic-, Chinese-, English-, and Spanish-speaking parents of general pediatric and subspeciality patients 17 years and younger, this study examined the association between parents with limited comfort with English (LCE) and adverse events in hospitalized children. Compared with children of parents who expressed comfort or proficiency with English, children of parents who expressed LCE had significantly higher odds of experiencing an adverse event, including preventable events. Future research should focus on strategies to improve communication and safety for this vulnerable group of children.
Wee LE, Fua T‐P, Chua YY, et al. Acad Emerg Med. 2020;27:379-387.
This article describes the use of a broad suspect case criteria for detecting COVID-19 in the emergency department of one large, hospital in Singapore. Both the initial official case criteria and the broadened case definition, which included patients presenting with acute respiratory disease with no alternative etiology and a history of travel or residence in a country with ongoing local transmission were used with the broadened criteria having higher sensitivity. The broader criterion may increase the numbers of suspected positive cases but can help minimize nosocomial ED transmission.
Using a social and behavioral sciences perspective, the authors present insights for aligning behavior with recommendations from experts for managing the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. Topics include threat perception, leadership, individual and collective interests, science communication, social context, and stress and coping.
Nejadshafiee M, Bahaadinbeigy K, Kazemi M, et al. J Emerg Nurs. 2020.
This systematic review explored the use of telehealth and the role of telenursing for managing the strain on the healthcare workforce during disaster scenarios, such as natural disasters, mass-casualty incidents, and simulated disasters. Based on findings from 17 studies, this review concluded that telehealth can help victims of disasters to access care, particularly when specialists are unavailable. The review did not identify any studies assessing telenursing care during disasters.
Lai J, Ma S, Wang Y, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e203976.
Healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are at risk for adverse psychological impacts. This cross-sectional survey evaluated mental health outcomes affecting healthcare workers treating patients exposed to COVID-19 in China. The 1,257 survey respondents reported symptoms of distress (72%), depression (50%), anxiety (45%) and insomnia (34%). Those engaged directly in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with COVID-19 were at greater risk for symptoms of depression (odds ratio [OR]=1.52; 95% CI, 1.11-2.09), anxiety (OR=1.57; 95% CI, 1.22-2.02), insomnia (OR=2.97; 95% CI, 1.92-4.60), and distress (OR=1.60; 95% CI, 1.25-2.04). The authors conclude that special interventions to promote the mental well-being of healthcare workers treating patients with COVID-19 need to be immediately implemented in order to reduce psychological burden.
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