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The ‘second victim phenomenon’ is a term attributed to the traumatic effect a medical error can have on healthcare professionals. Patient safety incidents have been shown to occur in as many as one in seven patients in hospital. These incidents cause significant, potentially devastating, trauma to patients and their relatives, and can have deep and long-lasting effects on the health professionals involved. These incidents can have a negative impact on doctors’ emotional wellbeing; their professional practice in relation to this impact has not been extensively investigated in surgical trainees.
A survey of UK otolaryngology trainees was conducted to investigate the effects of complications and medical errors on trainees, and examine how these are discussed within departments.
Results and conclusion
The findings suggest that further training is required and would be warmly received by otolaryngology trainees as part of higher surgical training.
We have seen in Chapter 9 that we have many avenues to improve medication safety in anesthesia and the perioperative period, with considerable evidence and expert consensus to support them. However, human nature, just as it leads to errors, also often drives resistance to implementing safety interventions. Complicating our efforts to improve safety are safety paradoxes that, although would seem to improve safety, actually may work against safety. Achieving improved patient safety requires a deep understanding of not just how things go wrong when error-prone human beings work within complex systems but also why changes that would have a high probability of reducing the risk of errors are so often resisted. Needed changes can be resisted by individual physicians and by entire leadership of a large healthcare system. We return to the concept of violations, and emphasize that failure to hold violators accountable will effectively undermine safety efforts. Finally, an effort to understand why we do not change is absolutely imperative, as our continued refusal to change to safer methods continues to imperil our patients.
Concerns have emerged regarding infection transmission during flexible nasoendoscopy.
Information was gathered prospectively on flexible nasoendoscopy procedures performed between March and June 2020. Patients and healthcare workers were followed up to assess for coronavirus disease 2019 development. One-sided 97.5 per cent Poisson confidence intervals were calculated for upper limits of risk where zero events were observed.
A total of 286 patients were recruited. The most common indication for flexible nasoendoscopy was investigation of ‘red flag’ symptoms (67 per cent). Forty-seven patients (16 per cent, 95 per cent confidence interval = 13–21 per cent) had suspicious findings on flexible nasoendoscopy requiring further investigation. Twenty patients (7.1 per cent, 95 per cent confidence interval = 4.4–11 per cent) had new cancer diagnoses. Zero coronavirus disease 2019 infections were recorded in the 273 patients. No. 27 endoscopists (the doctors and nurses who carried out the procedures) were followed up.The risk of developing coronavirus disease 2019 after flexible nasoendoscopy was determined to be 0–1.3 per cent.
The risk of coronavirus disease 2019 transmission associated with performing flexible nasoendoscopy in asymptomatic patients, while using appropriate personal protective equipment, is very low. Additional data are required to confirm these findings in the setting of further disease surges.
Patient safety is a complex systems issue. In this study, we used a scoping review of peer-reviewed literature and a case study of provincial and territorial legislation in Canada to explore the influence of mandatory reporting legislation on patient safety outcomes in hospital settings. We drew from a conceptual model that examines the components of mandatory reporting legislation that must be in place as a part of a systems governance approach to patient safety and used this model to frame our results. Our results suggest that mandatory reporting legislation across Canada is generally designed to gather information about – rather than respond to and prevent – patient safety incidents. Overall, we found limited evidence of impact of mandatory reporting legislation on patient safety outcomes. Although legislation is one lever among many to improve patient safety outcomes, there are nonetheless several considerations for patient safety legislation to assist in broader system improvement efforts in Canada and elsewhere. Legislative frameworks may be enhanced by strengthening learning systems, accountability mechanisms and patient safety culture.
Traditional and complementary medicines are increasingly considered possible options for prevention and symptomatic treatment of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. With renewed attention on these therapies from researchers and policy makers alike, the well-documented challenges of evaluating their safety and efficacy are once again of global concern. Between 2005 and 2018, the World Health Organization conducted a series of surveys, in which 88 percent of responding member states confirmed that their biggest challenge in traditional medicine was the need for technical guidance on research and evaluation. As a first step in pursuing this need, our commentary summarizes thirteen international and regional guidance documents by three broad categories on evaluating safety, efficacy, and product quality for market-based approval and distribution of these treatments. We highlight the paucity of updated international recommendations on these subjects and identify gaps that could inform the current evidence base. All available guidance note the need for evidence surrounding the efficacy of these treatments and practices but are also quick to caution against methodological difficulties in the conduct of such evaluations. Evidence suggests that improved evaluation methods on efficacy and effectiveness are crucial toward expanding future research into establishing the cost-effectiveness of these therapies, in the context of shifting acceptance, interest, and integration of traditional medicines into health systems, and as another step toward Universal Health Coverage.
The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has led to the birth of videoconference multidisciplinary teams, which are now commonplace. This remote way of deciding care demands a new set of rules to ensure the quality of the complex decisions that are made for the patient group needing multidisciplinary care. Videoconference multidisciplinary teams bring with them novel forms of distraction that are under-appreciated and can impair decision-making.
A practical checklist was generated as applied to videoconference multidisciplinary teams using the principles of human factors awareness and recognition.
Some of the strategies that should be adopted to minimise errors arising from human factors are: information technology support, a suitable environment to dial in, a global checklist employed prior to the videoconference, visible participants, avoiding distractions from other sources (e.g. e-mail, mobile phone), a videoconference sign-out and rapid dissemination of the outcomes sheet.
This article presents a framework that uses human factors principles applied in this setting, which will contribute to enhanced patient safety, team working and a reduction in medical errors.
Improving the delivery of existing treatment may often bring much greater benefits than developing new treatments and technologies. To achieve this, clinical teams and organisations need to build capacity for sustained and systematic improvement. Organisations can build improvement capacity and skills by developing permanent multidisciplinary centres to provide sustained inspiration, research, training and practical support for implementation and innovation. In the longer term, organisations need to build an infrastructure for quality improvement that includes an information system to track change and dedicated improvement leads across the organisation.
Patient suicide is one of the most frequent incidents in healthcare facilities to be reported to the National Observatory of Sentinel Events in Italy. Despite national initiatives, in Tuscany potentially preventable patient suicides still occur in both acute and community care settings. We describe here an aggregated qualitative analysis of 14 patient suicides that took place in public health services between 2017 and 2018. We outline the methodology and results of an improvement action we enacted in the healthcare system that involved reviewing and reinforcing relevant managerial strategies and clinical activities, with the aim of reducing potentially preventable patient suicides.
This paper gives a narrative account of how the Oxford Healthcare Improvement Centre has embedded continuous quality improvement (CQI) across both mental health and community services in Oxford, UK. The aim of the centre is to develop capability across healthcare services, with frontline staff leading CQI independently. The paper discusses the various methods employed to achieve this aim, including the provision of training, mentoring and support to those undertaking improvement work, alongside developing the required governance for CQI.
Advances in endoscopic technology have allowed transnasal oesophagoscopy to be used for a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
A review of the literature was carried out to look into the extended role of transnasal oesophagoscopy within otolaryngology, using the Embase, Cinahl and Medline databases.
There were 16 studies showing that transnasal oesophagoscopy is safe and cost effective and can be used for removal of foreign bodies, tracheoesophageal puncture, laser laryngeal surgery and balloon dilatation.
This study presents a summary of the literature showing that transnasal oesophagoscopy can be used as a safe and cost-effective alternative or adjunct to traditional rigid endoscopes for therapeutic procedures.
Our workplace has changed so dramatically that a new term for this chapter was created to describe it, electronicized. This chapter will focus on the associated issues of distraction due to personal electronic devices (PEDs), electronic medical records (EMRs), EMR’s OR equivalent, anesthesia information management systems (AIMS), and alarms. The digital distraction due to the combination of these devices will be described. Specific concerns will be raised regarding PED’s ubiquity as a distinct threat to vigilance that has the potential to be significantly disruptive and potentially injurious. Alarm fatigue due to the quantity and large number of false alarms will also be reviewed in detail
Introduction: An efficient discharging process provides an opportunity for the patient to receive information about their diagnosis, prognosis, treatments, follow-up plan and reasons to return. Even when given complete discharge instructions, studies demonstrate that patients have poor retention of the information due to misunderstandings, language barriers, or poor health literacy. This study sought to identify barriers encountered by healthcare workers in providing discharge handouts to emergency department patients. Methods: A bilingual online survey of fifteen questions was shared with Quebec ED staff physicians and residents at the annual conference, and by email correspondence through the Quebec Emergency Medicine Association (AMUQ - L'Association des médecins d'urgence du Québec). Results: There was a total of 126 responses (96 physicians and 30 residents), with a response rate of 22.7% (126/556) and a completion rate of 84.1%. 85.8% (n = 120) responded that they were aware of discharge instructions available in their ED. Most common discharge handouts were concussion/traumatic brain injury and laceration repair. 58.3% of respondents (n = 120) reported having handed out discharge instructions in the last week, 22.5% in the last month, 10.8% within the last 6 months and 5.8% had not given out discharge instructions in the last 6 months. Respondents indicated that the most common barriers to giving out discharge instructions were their difficulty to access and and the time required. 58% of respondents (n = 65) reported handing out discharge handouts less than 50% of the time for conditions that had a discharge handout available at their hospital. Participants reported they would be more likely to give out discharge instructions if they were easier to print and if there was an automatic prompt from the EMR associated with the diagnosis. When asked to rank based on importance (1 = not important to 10 = very important), the majority of respondents thought discharge instructions were very important for patient comprehension, return to ED instructions and managing expectations of the illness (Median 8, Likert scale 1-10, DI 0.29, n = 119). Conclusion: Despite physicians and residents working in the ED believing discharge instructions are important for patient care, handouts are seldom given to patients. The lack of easy availability such as documents automatically available with the prompt of an electronic medical record would likely increase their distribution.
Introduction: In a busy emergency department (ED), effective communication is integral to the provision of safe medical care. Physicians working in the ED interact with multiple team members including patients, allied healthcare professionals and other physicians, who all need to understand their verbal and written instructions. Our study's objective was to identify and describe communication problems occurring in the ED setting, and how these problems contributed to patient safety events and increased medico-legal risk for physicians. Methods: The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) is a not-for-profit, medico-legal organization which represented over 97,000 physicians at the time of this study. We conducted a retrospective descriptive analysis where we extracted five years (2013-2017) of CMPA data describing closed medico-legal cases occurring in the ED involving physicians (any specialty) who experienced complaints due to communication issues. We then applied an internal contributing factor framework to identify data themes. Data were summarized using descriptive statistics. Results: We identified 517 eligible cases involving 521 patients (some cases involved >1 patient). We found that 99.8% (520/521) of patients experienced some form of healthcare-related harm in the ED. Specifically, there was poor communication between: the physician and patient or patient's family (202/517, 39.1%); two or more physicians (79/517, 15.3%), and physicians and other healthcare providers (55/517, 10.6%). Inadequate documentation was observed in more than half of the cases (324/517, 62.7%) and poor team communication affected physicians’ decision making process (326/517, 63%) in areas such as deficient assessments, inadequate investigations, failure or delay to attend to the patient, and disposition decisions. Conclusion: Team communication issues are prevalent among physician medico-legal cases occurring in the ED. Efforts to strengthen communication skills may enhance patient safety and reduce medico-legal risk.
Hospital shootings (Code Silver) are events that pose extreme risk to staff, patients, and visitors. Hospitals are faced with unique challenges to train staff and develop protocols to manage these high-risk events. In situ simulation is an innovative technique that can evaluate institutional responses to emergent situations. This study highlights the design of an active shooter in situ simulation conducted at a Canadian level-1 trauma center to test a Code Silver active shooter protocol response. We further apply a modified framework analysis to extract latent safety threats (LSTs) from the simulation using ethnographic observation of the response by law enforcement, hospital security, logistics, and medical personnel.
The video-based framework analysis identified 110 LSTs, which were assigned hazard scores, highlighting 3 high-risk LSTs that did not have effective control measures or were not easily discoverable. These included lack of security during patient transport, inadequate situational awareness outside the clinical area, and poor coordination of critical tasks among interprofessional team members. In situ simulation is a novel approach to support the design and implementation of similar events at other institutions. Findings from ethnographic observations and a video-based analysis form a structured framework to address safety, logistical, and medical response considerations.
Stroke is a major emergency that can cause a significant morbidity and mortality. Advancement in stroke management in recent years has allowed more patients to be diagnosed and treated by stroke teams; however, stroke is a time-sensitive emergency that requires a high level of coordination, particularly within the prehospital phase. This research is to determine whether patients received by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at a tertiary health care facility had shorter stroke team activation, time to computed tomography (CT), or time to receive intravenous thrombolytics.
This research is a prospective cohort study of adults with stroke symptoms who required stroke team activation at a tertiary medical facility. The study included all patients received from September 1, 2017 through August 31, 2018. The primary outcome was the time difference to stroke team activation between patients received by EMS compared to patients that arrived by a private method of transportation. The secondary outcomes were the difference in time to CT scan and the time to receive intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA).
There were 75 (34.1%) patients who had been received by EMS, while 145 (65.9%) patients arrived via private transportation method (private car or by a friend/family member). The mean time to stroke team activation, time to CT, and time to receive thrombolytic therapy for the EMS group were: 8.19 (95% CI, 6.97 - 9.41) minutes; 18 (95% CI, 15.9 - 20.1) minutes; and 13.1 (95% CI, 6.95 - 19.3) minutes, respectively. Those for the private car group, on the other hand, were: 16 (95% CI, 12.4 - 19.6) minutes; 23.39 (95% CI, 19.6 - 27.2) minutes; and nine (95% CI, 4.54 -13.5) minutes, respectively. There was a significantly shorter time to stroke team activation for patients arriving via EMS compared to private car (P ≤ .00), but no significant difference was found on time to CT (P = .259) or time to receive rtPA (P = .100).
Emergency Medical Service transportation of stroke patients can significantly shorten the time to stroke team activation, leading to shorter triage and accelerated patient management. However, there was no statistical difference in time to CT or time to receive rtPA. Patients with stroke symptoms may benefit more from EMS transportation compared to private methods of transportation.
Quality improvement and patient safety (QIPS) competencies are increasingly important in emergency medicine (EM) and are now included in the CanMEDS framework. We conducted a survey aimed at determining the Canadian EM residents’ perspectives on the level of QIPS education and support available to them.
An electronic survey was distributed to all Canadian EM residents from the Royal College and Family Medicine training streams. The survey consisted of multiple-choice, Likert, and free-text entry questions aimed at understanding familiarity with QIPS, local opportunities for QIPS projects and mentorship, and the desire for further QIPS education and involvement.
Of 535 EM residents, 189 (35.3%) completed the survey, representing all 17 medical schools; 77.2% of respondents were from the Royal College stream; 17.5% of respondents reported that QIPS methodologies were formally taught in their residency program; 54.7% of respondents reported being “somewhat” or “very” familiar with QIPS; 47.2% and 51.5% of respondents reported either “not knowing” or “not having readily available” opportunities for QIPS projects and QIPS mentorship, respectively; 66.9% of respondents indicated a desire for increased QIPS teaching; and 70.4% were interested in becoming involved with QIPS training and initiatives.
Many Canadian EM residents perceive a lack of QIPS educational opportunities and support in their local setting. They are interested in receiving more QIPS education, as well as project and mentorship opportunities. Supporting residents with a robust QIPS educational and mentorship framework may build a cohort of providers who can enhance the local delivery of care.