Must Reads, Patient Safety

Top 5 Patient Safety Posts of 2020

As we bid farewell – or, perhaps good riddance to 2020 – here are our top patient safety posts for 2020.

2020 was definitely a COVID-19 year! 4 out of 5 of our posts for 2020 were about COVID-19, and one of these COVID posts was submitted to us by a doctor from Alaska.

#1 Patient Safety Post in 2020 – Free Patient-to-Nurse Chat Line

On April 23, 2020, PPAHS launched a free virtual clinic and website, Virtual Patient Care, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, to meet the pressing needs of patients with atrial fibrillation (Afib), who are at the highest level of risk from stroke, and to help Afib patients cope with the difficulties imposed by COVID-19. 

“Under current COVID-19 conditions, patients face the burdens of social distancing and increased difficulty in reaching clinicians busy with emergencies. Telehealth has proven essential in addressing patients’ pressing health needs and ensuring good patient-to-clinician dialogue,” said Michael Wong, JD, Founder and Executive Director of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety. 

The goal of Virtual Patient Care, conceived of and managed by the PPAHS in response to the COVID-19 crisis, is to foster an adherence rate greater than the reported 50% for patients at the highest ranges of stroke risk. The free telehealth service is supported by an unrestricted grant from the BMS-Pfizer Alliance, as well as the efforts, involvement, and/or resources of the American Heart Association, the Anticoagulation Forum, Heart Rhythm Society,, Mended Hearts, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

To read the post, please click here

#2 Patient Safety Post in 2020 – How Chiropractors Can Ensure Patient’s Safety Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

As chiropractic clinics start to open back up, many patients might feel a bit hesitant to make an appointment. How will the clinic protect them? What steps are chiropractors using to keep things safe? 

In this guest post, Dr. Brent Wells, DC discusses what chiropractic clinics and patients should do as clinics begin to open up after COVID-19. 

#3 Patient Safety Post in 2020 – 3 Myths about Wearing Masks

Many inaccuracies and false statements about COVID-19 have circulated on social media, but perhaps amongst all of these inaccuracies and false statements, none has been more damaging to health and safety than about wearing masks. In this post, we discuss 3 myths about wearing masks.

#4 Patient Safety Post in 2020 – Black Lives Matter, Healthcare Inequalities, and the Need for Systemic Change

As 2020 comes to an end, there have been 81,475,053 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,798,050 deaths, according to the WHO. In the United States, there have been 19,346,790 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 335,789 deaths.

While these WHO statistics are mind-numbing, what they don’t show is that the COVID pandemic has disproportionately affected some American communities more than others.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci (as reported by CNBC), state-level data demonstrate that black people are disproportionately dying from COVID-19:

  • In Michigan, black people makeup 14% of the state’s population, but account for 41% of coronavirus deaths, according to data released by Michigan’s government. 
  • In Illinois, black people makeup 14% of the population, but account for 32.5% of coronavirus deaths, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.
  • In Louisiana, where black people make up about 33% of the population, Gov. John Bel Edwards said in early April they account for more than 70% of the state’s coronavirus deaths, with the majority of these fatalities taking place in New Orleans.
  • In New York City, black and Latino people are twice as likely to die from the virus than their white peers, according to data by the local government.

We must act NOW to:

  • Actively be anti-racist.
  • Recognize that racism tears at the fabric of our society and therefore is a societal issue that has a profound impact on ALL communities and aspects of life.
  • Identify and call out racism, whether that it exists in ourselves, our neighbors, or in our leaders.
  • Listen and amplify black voices, like the Association of Black Cardiologists and the National Black Nurses Association.

To read the post, please click here.

To read the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety position statement, “Black Lives Matter, Healthcare Inequalities, and the Need for Systemic Change,” please click here.

#5 Patient Safety Post in 2020 – Survey Finds Clinicians Want Safer Ways to Test Lung Function

To help better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected medical practices and patient safety, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety conducted a survey about whether clinicians are performing lung function tests during COVID-19 and what improvements to such testing they would like to have.

To read the blog post, please click here.

To read our report about the survey results, please click here.


Patient Safety

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety Wishes You a Safe and Merry Christmas!

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety wishes you a Safe and Merry Christmas!

There have been two vaccines against COVID-19 approved by the FDA – one from Pfizer-BioNTech and one from Moderna.

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. had this to say about these vaccine approvals – “With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day.”

Although these approvals are great news and they are indeed a crucial step, don’t expect to receive a COVID vaccine soon. As the MIT Technology Review pointed out – “supplies of the vaccine are likely to be limited until well into 2021, meaning most people won’t be able to get it anytime soon.”

So, until a substantial majority of the population has received a COVID vaccine – including yourself and your family – please continue to be vigilant about your health and take safety precautions against COVID-19.

According to the CDC, please take these precautions:

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone should:

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
  • CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

As well, here are some tips and advice that you might find useful:

Going to the Dentist in this COVID-19 Era – in this interview, Bradley T. Truax, MD discusses what precautions dentists and their patients should consider.

How Chiropractors Can Ensure Patient’s Safety Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic – Dr. Brent Wells, DC discusses what chiropractic clinics and patients should do as clinics begin to open up after COVID-19.

Exercising During the COVID-19 Pandemic – keeping physically active has a great many benefits and, during the current COVID-19 situation, physical activity is recommended for emotional and mental health, as well as to boost your immune system.

3 Myths about Wearing Masks – don’t let these three myths stop you from taking care of your health.

Establishing an Emotional Connection During COVID – social distancing required during the current COVID pandemic has taken a toll on our social and mental health. This article discusses the impact social distancing may have on us and what each of us can do about it.

Great COVID-19 Advice and Resources from Our Cardiovascular Partners – read this article for great advice and resources from the American Heart Association, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association  and Heart Rhythm Society, the Anticoagulation Forum,, and Mended Hearts.

Have a COVID question? We just might have the answer at Virtual Patient Care.



Malpractice, Patient Safety

5 Patient Safety Blunders Healthcare Staff Must Avoid

Editor’s note – This is an opinion piece about patient safety errors that healthcare staff need to avoid.

By Katherine Rundell (Medical Writer)

Patient safety outcomes should be the first priority in healthcare facilities. Unfortunately, many mistakes such as medication errors, patient mix ups, and data management failures lead to deaths and prolonged illness in patients every year – but with vigilance and proper systems in place, many of these errors can be avoided. The first step is education, so read on to discover the five safety mistakes healthcare staff need to avoid.

Medication Errors

Providing patients with the wrong medication can have catastrophic consequences, and yet this is a common mistake in healthcare facilities with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating medication error causes at least one death every day. Medication mix ups are easy when clinicians are overworked, providing countless patients with complex cocktails of medication each day.

Medication errors include mixing up patients to provide the wrong medication completely or errors in dosage that stem from mathematical mistakes. Eliminating medication errors can be taken on systematically by providing a medication safety officer to oversee your medication procedures.

HAI (Hospital Acquired Infection)

When people are suffering they turn to hospitals and healthcare facilities for help – yet too many people are acquiring new medical issues in hospitals when they should be recuperating. Hospital acquired infection includes a range of issues such as superbugs bred and strengthened  in the hospital environment, pneumonia and bloodstream infections. Because hospitals provide a hub for various ailments, these can spread between patients if healthcare staff aren’t cautious.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff hygiene protocol is essential in the protection of patients from HAI. Nurses and other staff should have a post-patient procedure which makes it safe for them to move on to new patients without the risk of infecting them.

Patient Mix Ups

Treating the wrong patient is a common safety mistake in healthcare facilities and one that’s entirely down to human error. Errors in treating the right patient extend beyond mismedicating.  Because multiple staff members will be treating patients at any one time, it’s easy for wires to be crossed when staff communicate about patients, resulting in tests being applied to the wrong patient, treatments to be misapplied and even discharge to take place accidentally.

Eliminating patient mix ups is something every healthcare facility can achieve by putting rigorous systems in place and ensuring staff are adequately trained and supported. Cross referencing patient names with date of birth before any action is taken provides a double lock on patient treatment.

Pressure Ulcers

There are a wide range of reasons why an inpatient’s mobility may be compromised, from broken bones to induced comas. The dangers of immobility for patients are surprisingly profound and it’s easy for medical staff to overlook mobility as a priority in a patient’s treatment. Pressure ulcers are a common occurrence when immobility is combined with poor nutrition, and the development of ulcers dramatically increases the chance of contracting further infection.

A patient mobility programme should be set in place ensuring that immobile patients are regularly turned, relieving pressure from any one spot. On top of this practice nurses should be trained to assess for the developing stages of ulcers and be empowered to intervene where necessary.

Data Management Failures

Properly implemented data management systems can lead to improved health outcomes in healthcare facilities. The amount of data generated in such facilities can lead to insights resulting in improved rates of recovery, if data analytics are properly applied. Problematic data management systems are a common mistake that can severely compromise patient safety in healthcare facilities.

Data management issues can stem from a lack of analytic insight to more mundane problems of data entry. The misprocessing of patient data can lead to clinicians lacking the necessary information to provide proper treatment. Data entry in healthcare facilities is a vital component of care and it’s important for healthcare facilities to build administrative systems which are intuitive and enable their staff to collect and store data appropriately.

Checking Out

Healthcare facilities face diverse challenges when providing patient care and staff errors can be costly both in terms of patient outcomes and the bottom line. Eliminating these staff errors as much as possible will enable healthcare facilities to be profitable and safe for patients.

Katherine Rundell is a medical writer at Essay Writing Services and She has been published in the Lancet and BMJ, and is interested in how healthcare is provided in a changing landscape. She is also a proofreader at State Of Writing.


Patient Safety, Physician-Patient Relationship

Building a Better Virtual Patient Care Website

UPDATE: December 8, 2020

We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Virtual Patient Care website and chat line.

We hope that you’ll like the new streamlined look and resources.

We apologize for the inconvenience and unavailability of the Virtual Patient Care website.

We are building a better website to help better serve our patients.

Source: medical video visits by Bold Yellow from the Noun Project



Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Survey Finds Clinicians Want Safer Ways to Test Lung Function

Need for Safer Lung Function Testing

New survey finds that fears of COVID-19 are the overwhelming reason for not conducting lung function tests during the pandemic.

Respondents to the survey (50%) would like a safer way to test lung function is needed, such as a non-aerosol procedure (28%) and software that would provide an analysis of lung function (20%).

New Technological Solutions

Both the spirometer and plethysmography are technologies that were developed in the 19th century. We searched the internet to identify new technological solutions to determine lung function testing.

Please click on the video below from 4DMedical about their XV Technology and how it delivers regional, functional lung imaging using existing hospital hardware.

After you’ve watched the video, please tell us what you think and if you know of new technological solutions for testing lung function.


67% Believe COVID-19 Will Increase Malpractice Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the economy and businesses. A recent McKinsey & Company survey of 200 organizations across industries found that “more than 90 percent of executives said they expect the fallout from COVID-19 to fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years, with almost as many asserting that the crisis will have a lasting impact on their customers’ needs.“

To better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact liability and malpractice claims, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety conducted an online survey from October 8-15, 2020 with its followers.  

To read our full survey report, please click on the link below:

Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

New Initiative to Help COPD Patients During COVID-19 Crisis Launched by Physician-Patient Alliance for Health and Safety

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health and Safety (PPAHS) today announced the launch of a new initiative to help Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients during COVID-19, empowering them to better understand their conditions and to not delay seeking medical attention. The Virtual Patient Care initiative is supported by grants from GlaxoSmithKline and 4DMedical.

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Patient Safety

Recovering from COVID-19

As new infections from COVID-19 hit record highs across the United States – totaling more than 140,000 in just one day on November 11, 2020, and deaths due to COVID exceeding 165,000, according to the John Hopkins University – hospitals are reaching their capacities.

According to the report of the Commonwealth Fund, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Americans and, in particular, Blacks and Latinos, concluding:

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Malpractice, Patient Safety, Physician-Patient Relationship

Informed Consent: An Essential Element of a Good Physician-Patient Relationship

Editor’s note: In this guest opinion article, Dr. Sina Haeri discusses why obtaining informed consent is an essential element for a good physician-patient relationship.

By Sina Haeri, MD, MHSA (Chief Medical Officer, Confirmed Consent)

When speaking to clinicians, odds are that obtaining an informed consent as part of their daily practice is not a top-of-mind item, and in many cases, it’s viewed as a nuisance due to the redundant nature of the task. In fact, that redundancy in itself leads to complacency, where many pass the task to their staff including a nurse or a medical assistant. Furthermore, given that the time spent counseling the patient is baked into the procedure reimbursement, some providers view this redundant task as one that keeps them from generating revenue. Further compounding the issue is that with decreasing reimbursements clinicians are supposed to see more patients in less time, which again acts as a dissatisfier for the process.

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Malpractice, Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

New Survey Finds Lung Function Testing Has Decreased During COVID-19

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses are more at risk of getting COVID-19.  Lung function tests, such as spirometry and plethysmography, are often used to determine how well the lungs are working. These tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. Information from these tests is helpful to clinicians to diagnose and determine the appropriate treatment for patients suffering from lung disorders.

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