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.


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

PPAHS Celebrates 9 Years of Patient Safety

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

9 years ago today, I started the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety with a simple mission – advocate for improved safety and care of patients by developing and highlighting best practices and recommendations through better use and application of clinical practices and experiences, information technologies and checklists, and healthcare information.

In many ways, this cry for improvement focuses on systems – responsibility does not lie at the feet of the individual – for example through:

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Patient Safety

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety Celebrates 8 Years of Patient Safety Advocacy

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

Eight years ago, I started Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) with the goal of improving patient safety. Initially focused on opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD), PPAHS has added as key initiatives blood clots and alarm fatigue. As well, we and our collaborating clinicians have addressed many other patient safety issues, including sepsis, sharps injuries, pressure ulcers, pain management, COPD, nursing shortages, and maternal mortality. Our advocacy has been through a diverse range of mediums and venues, such as through conference presentations, articles, blogs, social media, podcasts and videos. 

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Opioid Safety, Patient Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Recommendations for Procedural Sedation

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) announced its intention to develop a position statement on recommendations for procedural sedation.

Michael Wong, JD (Founder and Executive Director, PPAHS) explained that such a position statement on recommendations for procedural sedation would encapsulate guidelines and recommendations from leading medical organizations in Canada and the United States:

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Must Reads, Patient Safety

8 Ways to Improve Patient Safety and Health Outcomes

Articles we have been reading this past week of April 23, 2018 discuss eight ways to improve patient safety and health outcomes.

#1 Way to Improve Patient Safety and Health Outcomes- Use Opioid-Sparing Strategies and More Precise Monitoring

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Patient Safety

You’re Invited to the IHI/NPSF Patient Safety Congress

The IHI/NPSF Patient Safety Congress, taking place from May 23-25, 2018, in Boston, MA, brings together people who are passionate about ensuring safe care equitably for all across the globe. This annual meeting is the must-attend event for committed health care professionals who continue to shape smarter, safer care for patients wherever it’s provided – from the hospitalized to outpatient settings to the home.

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Must Reads, Patient Safety

8 Ways We Need to Reconsider How We Think About Patient Safety

Articles we have been reading this past week of April 16, 2018 ask us to reconsider how we think about patient safety.

#1 – COPD prevalence is nearly double in rural areas compared to metropolitan areas

The risk of COPD is nearly double in rural areas compared to that in urban areas, according to CDC’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report.

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