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, StopAfib.org, 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.

 

Malpractice

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:

Malpractice

Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?

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

Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?

Here’s my question to you – “Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?”

Some say China is liable – according to a Pew Research Center survey, more than 3 out of 4 Americans (78%) “place a great deal or fair amount of the blame for the global spread of the coronavirus on the Chinese government’s initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.”

And, while some may debate whether a nation like China or any other country can be held legally liable, the difficulty of overcoming sovereign immunity makes such considerations a rather pointless mind exercise – or, as is often said in law school, a moot point.

Rather, I ask this question at a far more micro level – is the nurse, doctor, or even the emergency responder liable to a patient who contracts, has an adverse event, or dies from COVID-19 when undergoing their care and treatment?

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Practices & Tips

Caregiving and Telehealth in the World of Coronavirus

By John Schall, CEO, Caregiver Action Network

Sophie’s dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer right as the pandemic shut down started.  There were a lot of doctor’s appointments and tests to keep track of, and Sophie really needed to be there for all of the appointments – there was no way that her 87-year-old dad could keep track of everything the doctors said. The in-person visits went well – the cancer center understood that she had to be there. But when the appointments became video appointments,  things got really complicated, really fast. Sophie got her father a webcam and taught him how to use it. But the first video appointment was set up as a FaceTime call – so Sophie had to teach her dad how to FaceTime. Then, there were a series of registration questions in some app that wouldn’t allow the text to appear large enough for her dad to read it, so Sophie took care of that, too. The next doctor wouldn’t let her join the video appointment unless she was in the same room as her dad. After several telehealth visits, it got easier and the benefits of not exposing her dad to COVID, outweighed the tech challenges. 

What is a video appointment? Is it the same as telehealth? Is this even a real doctor’s visit? Is it covered by insurance? What if my loved one doesn’t have a smart phone or a computer? 

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Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

Patients Have Delayed or Not Seen a Doctor Because of COVID-19

A survey conducted by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety has found that patients have delayed or not seen a doctor because of COVID-19.

184 patients responded to the online survey conducted from August 25, 2020 to September 7, 2020.

Patients Are Concerned About Getting COVID-19

In response to the question, “How concerned are you of getting COVID-19?” approximately half of the respondents (45%) said that they were extremely concerned or moderately concerned about getting COVID-19, while one in five of the respondents (20%) were not concerned or only slightly concerned.

However, fear of getting COVID-19 is particularly high in patients with atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases – more than nine of ten (92%) of whom were extremely concerned or moderately concerned. According to the CDC, patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease may be at a greater risk of getting COVID-19. The high percentage of survey respondents being concerned about getting COVID-19 may reflect this CDC warning.

In comparison, reflective of the sentiments of all of the respondents, less than half (47%) of respondents with COPD or other respiratory illnesses were extremely concerned or moderately concerned about getting COVID-19. 

Patients Have Delayed Seeing a Doctor during COVID-19

About half of the respondents (44%) said that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare providers during this COVID pandemic. Unfortunately, this percentage was higher in respondents with cardiovascular disease, COPD, or other respiratory illnesses:

  • More than half of the respondents with atrial fibrillation or cardiovascular disease reported that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during this COVID pandemic (53%). Studies have found that patients have delayed seeing a doctor, resulting in more at-home heart attacks and delayed ED visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such delays are particularly significant for patients with atrial fibrillation or other cardiovascular diseases because such patients are at a higher risk of a heart attack.
  • Similarly, more than half of the respondents with COPD or other respiratory illnesses also reported that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during this COVID pandemic (51%).

These survey results echo researchers’ findings that more than 40% of US adults skipped medical care since COVID-19.

Additionally, more than half of the respondents reported that their family members (52%) had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during the COVID pandemic and more than a third of the respondents reported that they knew someone who had delayed or not gone to see a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare providers (35%).

To view our complete report on the survey, please click here.

 

Patient Safety, Physician-Patient Relationship

Establishing an Emotional Connection During COVID with Patients Despite Social Distancing

Editor’s note: Social distancing required during the current COVID pandemic has taken a toll on our social and mental health. Rei Lantion discusses the impact social distancing may have on us and what each of us can do about it.

By Rei Lantion, Freelance Writer, Editor & Social Media Strategist

Human beings are social beings. This is a fact. Even the most introverted crave human warmth every now and then. In times of fear, anxiety, and poor health, we are heavily dependent on relationships and the presence of other human beings. When we’re sick, we love it when our friends visit us. When we’re stressed from work, we round up our colleagues and head out for dinner and drinks.

That being said, practicing social distancing during a global health crisis is definitely not the most ideal situation. And here’s why:

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Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

Exercising During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Editor’s note: 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. However, as everyone’s different, please speak with your doctor about finding the right level of fitness activity for you. 

By Michael Wong (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety), Lynn G. Razzano, RN, MSN, ONC, CMSRN (Clinical Nurse Consultant, PPAHS), and Thereza B. Ayad, RN, MSN, DNP, CNOR (Clinical Nurse Consultant, PPAHS)

One of the questions we’ve received on the chat line and which we’d like to share the answer to is about exercising during the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is a question that many have probably asked themselves.

There are many benefits to staying physically active, particularly following surgery. However, during the current COVID-19 circumstances that require social distancing and have necessitated the closure of facilities – particularly gyms, pools, and parks – staying physically active can be especially challenging.

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Blood Clots, Patient Safety

FREE Patient-to-Nurse Chat Line

PLEASE DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH IN THE COMMENT SECTION OR INCLUDE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF.

If you’d like a confidential chat with us, please go to our Virtual Patient Care website, by clicking here.

We will try to answer questions asked in the comment section as the answers may be helpful to other patients.

Virtual Patient Care is a free online service where patients can speak with experienced registered nurses and get personalized answers to their questions. 

In this video by Michael Wong, Founder and Executive Director of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety explains what prompted the Physician-Patient Alliance and its cardiovascular partners – American Heart Association, AC Forum, Heart Rhythm Society, StopAfib.org, Mended Hearts, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association – to establish a nursing chat line:

“During the current COVID-19 conditions, patients face the burdens of social distancing and increased difficulty in reaching clinicians busy with emergencies. To meet the pressing needs of patients during this COVID pandemic, the Physician-Patient Alliance, with an unrestricted grant from the BMS-Pfizer Alliance, and our cardiovascular partners recently launched a free virtual patient care website and chat line.”

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