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Time out! Rethinking surgical safety: more than just a checklist

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Patients are more likely to experience preventable harm during perioperative care than in any other type of healthcare encounter.1 2 For several decades, a hallmark of surgical quality and safety has been the use of checklists to prevent errors (eg, wrong site surgery) and assure that key tasks have been or will be performed. The most widely used approach globally is the Surgical Safety Checklist (SSC) recommended by the WHO.3 It is divided into preinduction (or sign in, consisting of seven items performed by anaesthesia and nursing), preincision (timeout, 10 items performed by the entire team) and postsurgery (sign out, five items by the entire team).4 5 Most hospitals in the developed world perform the SSC or an equivalent timeout prior to surgical incision. However, preinduction briefings, and postcase debriefings in particular, are much less commonly performed.6...

Paving the PICC journey: building structures, process and engagement to improve outcomes

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Many patients admitted to hospital require venous access to infuse medications and fluids. The most commonly used device, the peripheral venous catheter, ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 cm in length, and is typically used for less than 5 days. The midline, a relatively newer peripheral venous catheter, is up to 20 cm in length, but does not reach the central veins, and may be used for up to 2 weeks. A peripherally inserted central venous catheter (PICC) is a longer catheter that is placed in one of the arm veins and extends to reach the central veins. The PICC is used for longer periods of time compared with peripheral intravenous devices, and initially gained popularity as a convenient vascular access device used in the outpatient and home settings. Its premise has been to provide access that lasts for weeks, that is fairly safe and easily manageable. Patients often require...

Timeout procedure in paediatric surgery: effective tool or lip service? A randomised prospective observational study

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Background

For over a decade, the preoperative timeout procedure has been implemented in most paediatric surgery units. However, the impact of this intervention has not been systematically studied. This study evaluates whether purposefully introduced errors during the timeout routine are detected and reported by the operating team members.

Methods

After ethics board approval and informed consent, deliberate errors were randomly and clandestinely introduced into the timeout routine for elective surgical procedures by a paediatric surgery attending. Errors were randomly selected among wrong name, site, side, allergy, intervention, birthdate and gender items. The main outcome measure was how frequent an error was reported by the team and by whom.

Results

Over the course of 16 months, 1800 operations and timeouts were performed. Errors were randomly introduced in 120 cases (6.7%). Overall, 54% of the errors were reported; the remainder went unnoticed. Errors were pointed out most frequently by anaesthesiologists (64%), followed by nursing staff (28%), residents-in-training (6%) and medical students (1%).

Conclusion

Errors in the timeout routine go unnoticed by the team in almost half of cases. Therefore, even if preoperative timeout routines are strictly implemented, mistakes may be overlooked. Hence, the timeout procedure in its current form appears unreliable. Future developments may be useful to improve the quality of the surgical timeout and should be studied in detail.

Comparing peripherally inserted central catheter-related practices across hospitals with different insertion models: a multisite qualitative study

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Background

Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) provide reliable intravenous access for delivery of parenteral therapy. Yet, little is known about PICC care practices or how they vary across hospitals. We compared PICC-related processes across hospitals with different insertion delivery models.

Methods

We used a descriptive qualitative methodology and a naturalist philosophy, with site visits to conduct semistructured interviews completed between August 2018 and January 2019. Study sites included five Veterans Affairs Medical Centres, two with vascular access teams (VATs), two with PICC insertion primarily by interventional radiology (IR) and one without on-site PICC insertion capability. Interview participants were healthcare personnel (n=56), including physicians, bedside and vascular access nurses, and IR clinicians. Data collection focused on four PICC domains: use and decision-making process, insertion, in-hospital management and patient discharge education. We used rapid analysis and a summary matrix to compare practices across sites within each domain.

Results

Our findings highlight the benefits of dedicated VATs across all PICC-related process domains, including implementation of criteria to guide PICC placement decisions, timely PICC insertion, more robust management practices and well-defined patient discharge education. We also found areas with potential for improvement, such as clinician awareness of PICC appropriateness criteria and alternative devices, deployment of VATs and patient discharge education.

Conclusion

Vascular access nurses play critical roles in all aspects of PICC-related care. There is variation in PICC decision-making, care and maintenance, and patient education across hospitals. Quality and safety improvement opportunities to reduce this variation are highlighted.

Chronic hospital nurse understaffing meets COVID-19: an observational study

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Introduction

Efforts to enact nurse staffing legislation often lack timely, local evidence about how specific policies could directly impact the public’s health. Despite numerous studies indicating better staffing is associated with more favourable patient outcomes, only one US state (California) sets patient-to-nurse staffing standards. To inform staffing legislation actively under consideration in two other US states (New York, Illinois), we sought to determine whether staffing varies across hospitals and the consequences for patient outcomes. Coincidentally, data collection occurred just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak; thus, these data also provide a real-time example of the public health implications of chronic hospital nurse understaffing.

Methods

Survey data from nurses and patients in 254 hospitals in New York and Illinois between December 2019 and February 2020 document associations of nurse staffing with care quality, patient experiences and nurse burnout.

Results

Mean staffing in medical-surgical units varied from 3.3 to 9.7 patients per nurse, with the worst mean staffing in New York City. Over half the nurses in both states experienced high burnout. Half gave their hospitals unfavourable safety grades and two-thirds would not definitely recommend their hospitals. One-third of patients rated their hospitals less than excellent and would not definitely recommend it to others. After adjusting for confounding factors, each additional patient per nurse increased odds of nurses and per cent of patients giving unfavourable reports; ORs ranged from 1.15 to 1.52 for nurses on medical-surgical units and from 1.32 to 3.63 for nurses on intensive care units.

Conclusions

Hospital nurses were burned out and working in understaffed conditions in the weeks prior to the first wave of COVID-19 cases, posing risks to the public’s health. Such risks could be addressed by safe nurse staffing policies currently under consideration.

Differences in transitional care processes among high-performing and low-performing hospital-SNF pairs: a rapid ethnographic approach

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Background

Despite the increased focus on improving patient’s postacute care outcomes, best practices for reducing readmissions from skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are unclear. The objective of this study was to observe processes used to prepare patients for postacute care in SNFs, and to explore differences between hospital-SNF pairs with high or low 30-day readmission rates.

Design

We used a rapid ethnographic approach with intensive multiday observations and key informant interviews at high-performing and low-performing hospitals, and their most commonly used SNF. We used flow maps and thematic analysis to describe the process of hospitals discharging patients to SNFs and to identify differences in subprocesses used by high-performing and low-performing hospitals.

Setting and participants

Hospitals were classified as high or low performers based on their 30-day readmission rates from SNFs. The final sample included 148 hours of observations with 30 clinicians across four hospitals (n=2 high performing, n=2 low performing) and corresponding SNFs (n=5).

Findings

We identified variation in five major processes prior to SNF discharge that could affect care transitions: recognising need for postacute care, deciding level of care, selecting an SNF, negotiating patient fit and coordinating care with SNF. During each stage, high-performing sites differed from low-performing sites by focusing on: (1) earlier, ongoing, systematic identification of high-risk patients; (2) discussing the decision to go to an SNF as an iterative team-based process and (3) anticipating barriers with knowledge of transitional and SNF care processes.

Conclusion

Identifying variations in processes used to prepare patients for SNF provides critical insight into the best practices for transitioning patients to SNFs and areas to target for improving care of high-risk patients.

The cost of improving care: a multisite economic analysis of hospital resource use for implementing recommended postpartum contraception programmes

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Background

The costs of quality improvement efforts in real-world settings are often unquantified. Better understanding could guide appropriate resource utilisation and drive efficiency. Immediate postpartum contraceptive care (ie, placement of an intrauterine device or contraceptive implant during hospitalisation for childbirth) represents an excellent case study for examining costs, because recommended services are largely unavailable and adoption requires significant effort. We therefore evaluated the cost of implementing immediate postpartum contraceptive services at four academic centres and one private hospital in USA.

Methods

In this mixed-methods cost analysis, implementation activities were retrospectively identified using standardised data collection. Activities were categorised as preimplementation activities (infrastructure building, tool creation and stakeholder engagement) or execution activities (workforce training and process refinement). Costs were assigned based on national median salaries for the roles of individuals involved. Cross-case comparison and rapid qualitative analysis guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research were used to identify factors driving cost variation observed across sites.

Results

On average, implementation activities required 204 hours (range 119–368), with this time costing $14 433.94 (range $9955.61–$23 690.49), and involving 9 (range 7–11) key team members per site. Preimplementation activities required more resources than execution activities (preimplementation: average 173 hours, $11 573.25; execution: average 31 hours, $2860.67). Sites that used lower-cost employees (eg, shifting tasks from a physician to a project manager) observed lower costs per hour for implementation activities. Implementation activities and costs were associated with local contextual factors, including stakeholder acceptance, integration of employees and infrastructure readiness for the change effort.

Conclusions

Our findings provide the first estimates of health system costs for adopting recommended contraceptive care in maternity units in USA. More broadly, our findings suggest that the budget impact of improvement efforts may vary widely depending on local context.

Variation in the design of Do Not Resuscitate orders and other code status options: a multi-institutional qualitative study

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Background

US hospitals typically provide a set of code status options that includes Full Code and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) but often includes additional options. Although US hospitals differ in the design of code status options, this variation and its impacts have not been empirically studied.

Design and methods

Multi-institutional qualitative study at 7 US hospitals selected for variability in geographical location, type of institution and design of code status options. We triangulated across three data sources (policy documents, code status ordering menus and in-depth physician interviews) to characterise the code status options available at each hospital. Using inductive qualitative methods, we investigated design differences in hospital code status options and the perceived impacts of these differences.

Results

The code status options at each hospital varied widely with regard to the number of code status options, the names and definitions of code status options, and the formatting and capabilities of code status ordering menus. DNR orders were named and defined differently at each hospital studied. We identified five key design characteristics that impact the function of a code status order. Each hospital’s code status options were unique with respect to these characteristics, indicating that code status plays differing roles in each hospital. Physician participants perceived that the design of code status options shapes communication and decision-making practices about resuscitation and life-sustaining treatments, especially at the end of life. We identified four potential mechanisms through which this may occur: framing conversations, prompting decisions, shaping inferences and creating categories.

Conclusions

There are substantive differences in the design of hospital code status options that may contribute to known variability in end-of-life care and treatment intensity among US hospitals. Our framework can be used to design hospital code status options or evaluate their function.

Effects of night surgery on postoperative mortality and morbidity: a multicentre cohort study

Quality and Safety in Health Care Journal -

Background

Surgery at night (incision time 17:00 to 07:00 hours) may lead to increased postoperative mortality and morbidity. Mechanisms explaining this association remain unclear.

Methods

We conducted a multicentre retrospective cohort study of adult patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery with general anaesthesia at two major, competing tertiary care hospital networks. In primary analysis, we imputed missing data and determined whether exposure to night surgery affects 30-day mortality using a mixed-effects model with individual anaesthesia and surgical providers as random effects. Secondary outcomes were 30-day morbidity and the mediating effect of blood transfusion rates and provider handovers on the effect of night surgery on outcomes. We further tested for effect modification by surgical setting.

Results

Among 350 235 participants in the primary imputed cohort, the mortality rate was 0.9% (n=2804/322 327) after day and 3.4% (n=940/27 908) after night surgery. Night surgery was associated with an increased risk of mortality (ORadj 1.26, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.38, p<0.001). In secondary analyses, night surgery was associated with increased morbidity (ORadj 1.41, 95% CI 1.33 to 1.48, p<0.001). The proportion of patients receiving intraoperative blood transfusion and anaesthesia handovers were higher during night-time, mediating 9.4% (95% CI 4.7% to 14.2%, p<0.001) of the effect of night surgery on 30-day mortality and 8.4% (95% CI 6.7% to 10.1%, p<0.001) of its effect on morbidity. The primary association was modified by the surgical setting (p-for-interaction<0.001), towards a greater effect in patients undergoing ambulatory/same-day surgery (ORadj 1.81, 95% CI 1.39 to 2.35) compared with inpatients (ORadj 1.17, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.34).

Conclusions

Night surgery was associated with an increased risk of postoperative mortality and morbidity. The effect was independent of case acuity and was mediated by potentially preventable factors: higher blood transfusion rates and more frequent provider handovers.

2021 Safety Communications

FDA MedWatch -

The FDA posts Medical Device Safety Communications to describe the FDA's current analysis of an issue and contain specific regulatory approaches and clinical recommendations for patient management.

Pages

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