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Found 78 results
  1. Content Article
    Research shows that patient complaints are significantly associated with physicians' risk management activity and lawsuits. Research also demonstrates that a small subset of physicians and surgeons in various areas of practice are associated with disproportionate shares of patient complaints. Coded and aggregated patient complaint data therefore offer a metric for identifying and promoting behavior change. Analysis of the distribution of patient complaints associated with 41 paediatric cardiac surgeons is presented as a means for helping leaders show one surgeon how her/his risk status compares with peers. The paper describes a specific plan and reliable process by which medical group/centre colleagues and leaders may: address lapses in professionalism and performance; follow-up to promote professionalism, professional accountability, quality, and a safety culture; and reduce risk.
  2. Content Article
    Seven features of safety in maternity units 1. Commitment to safety and improvement at all levels, with everyone involved 2. Technical competence, supported by formal training and informal learning 3. Teamwork, cooperation, and positive working relationships 4. Constant reinforcing of safe, ethical, and respectful behaviours 5. Multiple problem-sensing systems, used as basis of action 6. Systems and processes designed for safety, and regularly reviewed and optimised 7. Effective coordination and ability to mobilise quickly
  3. Content Article
    Patient Safety Tool Box Talks© Theme 1 talks - Person centred care and supportre and Support Patient Safety Tool Box Talks© Theme 2 talks - Effective care and support Patient Safety Tool Box Talks© Theme 3 talks - Safe care and support Patient Safety Tool Box Talks© Theme 5 talks - Leadership, governance and management Patient Safety Tool Box Talks© Theme 8 talks - Use of information
  4. Content Article
    Project charters are written documents that come in many forms. For improvement projects, they should include, as a minimum, a concise summary of: What the team wants to achieve from their improvement efforts, described as an improvement aim. Include how much improvement will be achieved, who the improvement is for and when the improvement will be achieved by. Why the work is important – the rationale or business case for the work. This should outline; the problem the work will address, how this links to strategic objectives, how you know this is a problem, who is affected, the impact of doing nothing and the benefits to be derived from improvement e.g. outcomes and costs. The scope of the project - what is included in the work. How the team intend to achieve the improvement aim – this should include initial ideas for change and the supporting activities to make the work happen. How the team will measure the impact of the work. Who will be involved the work and their role. Key people should include; subject matter experts, process owners who can make changes, representatives of those impacted by your project (families, young people, patients, customers etc), finance representative (where needed), and a sponsor linked to executive level for leadership support. Any risks to the delivery of the project, so that decisions can be made on how these should be addressed.
  5. Content Article
    What is an ad hoc team? An ‘ad hoc’ team is a team that is made up of various healthcare workers that have never met before. An example of this is the medical emergency team or the cardiac arrest team – doctors, anaesthetists, nurses and other allied health professionals scrambled from around the hospital expected to assess and treat a patient in crisis. Often, we don’t know each other’s names, roles or what skills we each have. What we did in Brighton is to get to know each other… We had a MET meeting every morning. We all got together and introduced ourselves, found out what skills we all had and made full use of any learning opportunities that arose. The ad hoc team worked well. We all knew what to expect, even when a complex situation arose – we all knew who to contact and how we could get the best for our patient. Then in comes a pandemic... Staff have been redeployed; rotas have been changed; the usual rhythm of the hospital has disappeared. Our regular meeting doesn’t happen. This causes problems: Who is who? What skills do people have? Has everyone been fit tested? Where do we get the PPE from during a MET call? How do we communicate to each other? What is the guidance to take blood, do an ECG, defibrillate, order an X-ray during the pandemic? All these questions and anxieties could be discussed at this meeting, but due to a change in working patterns, the change in doctors seeing different patients (Green and Red – COVID + or COVID –), its not possible to meet up. Our technical skills are not a problem – the team have great skills in advanced life support, using life saving equipment. What we are finding difficult is the non-technical skills: communicating, tone of voice, body language. It was hard enough to communicate in a high stress situation before all this pandemic… now its even harder and so much more important! Simulation Simulation has been a large part of how we train in low volume, high risk scenarios in hospital. Cardiac arrests, medical emergencies, emergency intubation, transfer, pacing… you name it we have probably simulated it here at Brighton. I have been on the medical emergency team for 9 years now. I like to think I have experience in most emergencies and know what to do and who to call. All of a sudden, I feel a novice. I don’t even know how to go into the room correctly, I don’t know what I should take in to the room, I don’t know what I should wear; every action, every protocol I would normally do can't happen due to current constraints. I am worrying so much that I feel paralysed to do anything for fear I’m doing it wrong. We have simulations every day at 3 pm at our hospital. These simulations are very low fidelity and include how a medical emergency or cardiac arrest in the COVID-19 patient should run. Simulation can never replace what a real-life scenario will feel like. What simulation can do is allow you to understand what needs to happen, in what order and lets you make mistakes in order for you to learn. Most adults learn from ‘doing’ and from experiences – I am so glad we had this simulation as I was about to attend my first MET call a few days later. My experience attending an airway medical emergency The call went out. "Medical emergency XXX ward – COVID positive". Shortly followed by "Anaesthetic emergency XXX ward- COVID positive". I ran faster knowing that as a team we all had to get there and put full PPE on before we could attend to the patient. If the patient has an airway problem, they will not be able to breathe properly and be at high risk of stopping breathing. I remembered at the simulation exercise that one person needs to be the ‘gate keeper’. I decided to take on this role as I wasn’t sure who had attended the simulation before and knew about this role. My role as gate keeper is to make a note of who is in the room, what role they have and to take messages in and out of the room from the doorway. The notes are not able to be taken into the room, so it would be the gate keeper's role to get the information across to the team inside. I was opening and closing the door and trying to hear muffled voices; I was equally trying to convey important medical information, but they couldn’t hear me well enough. It didn’t help that for many of the team English is not their first language; this made it even more difficult. Our anaesthetic team simulate situations on a regular basis as part of normal work. They turned up at the call already kitted up in PPE and wheeling a trolley with everything they needed on it; all their drugs and equipment were there. One of them – the lead anaesthetist – had a headset on which was connected to a walkie talkie. This made conversing with the team so much easier. We could ask questions from outside the room into the room and vice versa without having to open the door. Clearly, they had rehearsed this scenario before – they too couldn’t hear well so had solved the problem by obtaining walkie talkie devices. They asked for equipment, called for X-ray or asked for more information and I could either relay information, pass equipment or order tests for them – so much easier and safer. The patient had a complex airway and needed to be seen by a specialist. A consultant arrived; one I had not met before. He arrived anxious. He was worried about donning the PPE in the correct order and in swift time. I helped him donn and, while I did that, I reassured him on who was in the room, what had happened and what treatment the patient had had. He entered the room knowing he had the right gear on and what he was facing. This enabled him to think clearly and treat the patient. When it was time to transfer the patient to intensive care, we came across a problem. We had two differing protocols. One was from yesterday, the other was rewritten this morning… which was correct? This was quickly cleared up by calling the author of the protocol, but what would happen at 3 am if this was to happen again? Reflections It was my first time as gate keeper. To be honest, I didn’t know what I should be doing… some of the information from the simulation flew from my mind. Looking back, I should have asked for the name and role of who walked into the room and wrote it on their PPE or used stickers. People were in such a rush to get in and save the patient's life that it didn’t feel like a priority at the time. The walkie talkies were a genius idea from the anaesthetists – this is something that I will take back and see if we can implement the same for all MET calls (anaesthetists do not attend MET calls normally). It reduced the opening and closing of the door, which reduced the amount of aerosoled particles to come out from the room that may increase risk of infection to others. Flattened hierarchy – the moment I had with the consultant outside that room was something I hadn’t experienced before. I noticed his vulnerability, he looked for me – a nurse – for reassurance and guidance which was given with no judgement. At that moment we knew we were one team. Protocols keep changing. We are working where national guidance and local policy changes daily. Without robust ways of disseminating this information we run the risk of doing the wrong thing. As clinicians we are not at our desks monitoring for changes in guidance – we need ways of getting this information to us. We use the ‘workplace’ app – we have a ‘microguide’ for all our up to date policies. This is great to use in normal circumstances but when dressed in PPE we are not always able to access our mobile phones. I wasn’t inside the room. I could see the patient. I could see that he was scared. He couldn’t breathe, he was unable to talk anyway due to his altered airway. How were the team communicating with him? How was he being reassured? Our facial expressions say a thousand words – behind a mask the patient sees nothing. I have heard of the CARDMEDIC flash cards, but can we use them in an emergency? Perhaps we could add them on to the cardiac arrest trolley? The patient is doing well on intensive care now. It would have been ideal for us to debrief; however, half the team go with the patient the other half of the team need to get back to other sick patients, so this can't happen. So much learning comes from these calls; we haven’t got this bit right yet.
  6. News Article
    As the world writhes in the grip of Covid-19, the epidemic has revealed something majestic and inspiring: millions of health care workers running to where they are needed, on duty, sometimes risking their own lives. In his article in the New York Times, Don Berwick says he has never before seen such an extensive, voluntary outpouring of medical help at such a global scale. Millions of health care workers are running to where they are needed, sometimes risking their lives. Intensive care doctors in Seattle connect with intensive care doctors in Wuhan to gather specific intelligence on what the Chinese have learned: details of diagnostic strategies, the physiology of the disease, approaches to managing lung failure, and more. City by city, hospitals mobilise creatively to get ready for the possible deluge: bring in retired staff members, train nurses and doctors in real time, share data on supplies around the region, set up special isolation units and scale up capacity by a factor of 100 or 1000. "We are witnessing professionalism in its highest form, skilled people putting the interests of those they serve above their own interests." Read full article Source: New York Times, 23 March 2020
  7. Content Article
    Key take-away messages The healthcare organisation you work in is a system of interacting human elements, roles, responsibilities and relationships. Quality and patient safety are performed by your human-designed organisational structures, processes, leadership styles, people's professional and cultural backgrounds, and organizational policies and practices. The level of interconnection of all these aspects will impact the distribution of perception, cognition, emotion and consciousness with the organisation you work for. What goes on between people defines what your health system is and what it can become.
  8. Content Article
    Learning objectives In this session participants will learn about: The design of the patient's journey and experience. Practical ways to introduce co-production in your setting. An overall framework that can help teams to work more effectively with patients and their families.
  9. Content Article
    The story so far... We investigate an incident to collect facts that will prevent the incident from occurring again (see 'Why investigate?' blog). Facts collected by two or more investigators, with enough time away from the ‘day job’, tend to be of better quality than a single person fitting the investigation in and around their other duties (see 'Who should investigate?' blog). Human factors is a science done by science types who are trained in understanding how the limited ‘cave dweller’ tries to cope with their environment. Human factors types are not likely to have the title ‘Captain’ and have not just landed at Stansted (see 'Human factors' blog). Facts are our friend as they allow us to tell people why an incident occurred and, if those facts are accurate, allow us to do an intervention that will prevent the incident occurring again (see 'Where do facts come from?' blog). Good facts and great remedies allow us then to monitor the success of the intervention. But again, we are getting ahead of ourselves by talking about interventions. Sorry. At this stage it might be worth thinking about what we do with all those facts, how we see patterns in the data, what a good intervention might look like, and how and when we monitor success. As we have seen previously, there are four principal areas where facts come from: the human, the equipment, the environment and the system of working. How the investigation is conducted and by whom, and as we shall see ‘when’, affects these four principal areas of investigation and the three methods of intervention. So, four areas of investigation with facts emerging from many different sources: from inside the witness’s mind, from ward records, from engineering logs, etc. How these facts come together to form a big picture needs to be considered in terms of the intervention. A later blog will explain these interventions (after we discuss data and analysis – yay statistics), but for now it’s worth saying the three interventions are called ‘the three ‘Es’. Luckily the three words all start with the letter E so it makes sense. Engineering – The most effective intervention, as the machine keeps the cave dweller from making mistakes. Enforcement – Where someone polices the method of working or the equipment used, in a given environment. Education – the least effective method, which relies on a training course or a poster. “Don’t operate on the wrong side of a patient”. Well I never, what a useful reminder in a theatre. My favourite was at a rail depot. A poster (1 of 80 in the area) said. “Be alert and check the doors”. Really closing the train doors is a good idea… More in the intervention blogs. The why, the who, the what data collected will affect the quality of the facts. The facts collected determine the intervention chosen. The monitoring of success of the intervention is, perhaps, determined by the original hypothesis of the investigator, very early on in the investigation. We may do a blog on bias in investigations. A word of caution. You don’t always do an intervention. ‘Eek’ I hear screamed from every trust. This is because, as we have discussed, an incident is a rare random event with multiple causes. Sometimes an incident, or series of incidents, have occurred due to the random nature of humans and an emerging pattern of data is thought to have been found. This pattern, and these series of events, are, however, just random. So, very early on in this blog, I introduce the idea that ‘when’ an intervention might occur might be never. An example… Lots of crashes occurred along a three mile stretch of road. Detailed investigations revealed no pattern in any of the crash’s causation. The local authority had over £3 million to spend and was determined to spend it (they rightly want to keep their community safe). Well what intervention would you do given that there is no pattern? There is no consistency in the facts and the only pattern might possibly be in the investigators' minds. Given accidents are rare random events, if you do an intervention will it not make it worse? If it makes it worse, how do you reconcile your ‘no pattern data’? A comment was made by the local authority that suggested a pattern existed and we were not good at investigations and human factors. We reviewed the data again and conducted interviews with those involved (at our own expense). Indeed, there was perhaps a pattern. If you were female (most were), you were travelling north (most were), you were in the early stages of pregnancy (most were) – you appear to be involved in a crash. We noted this at home visits and it’s not recorded in the police data. Upon reporting back, the local authority understood that incidents are indeed rare random events and sometimes data emerges with no explanation. The comment from the authority – “So the only intervention is planned parenthood advice a few days before undertaking any northbound journey?” Indeed, that’s the correct conclusion for the data. No intervention was undertaken, and seven years later no incidents have occurred, and we understand the northbound mummies and babies are doing fine. The local authority remains a client after 18 years. It might be the case that (as my reviewer points out) that “maybe there was a factor there, but it went away without intervention (sleepwalking cattle randomly moved to another field further from the road)”. Hopefully, that should show the connection between the philosophy of data collection, its method of collection and by who, and how it affects the intervention and prevention. Also, the benefits of planned parenthood when travelling northbound. Hopefully, I’ve rounded up the last four blogs. So it’s now time to look at the when; like parenthood, it affects the outcomes too! When to investigate? When to investigate is determined by the facts you want to collect, where those facts come from and whether those facts are time sensitive, and your availability and the accessibility of the location. In broad terms, the ‘when’ is affected by two types of evidence: physical stuff and human witness stuff. Physical evidence Let’s start with a photograph. (Warning the image below contains graphic depictions of an older man in shorts!) Image 1: Older man finds the remains of an aircraft converted to a bar and restaurant. Copyright: User Perspective Ltd. Recovering engineering or physical evidence is less time sensitive than information from witnesses. Ward records can last a long time and engineering logs can as well. If you collect evidence from CCTV – that has a life span of 30 days. Generally, in medicine physical evidence is not time sensitive. However, like the image above, it shows that if you leave evidence for long enough someone will change it. In this case they make it into a restaurant. I eat elsewhere as I was sure a fellow human factor person was looking for the crash site! Human stuff – witnesses Most of the facts you collect come from witnesses, aka humans, aka cave dwellers. As we shall see in the ‘how to interview’ blogs, the facts are contained in the mind and it’s not easy to get them out. As you can see in Image 2 below, the decline in the availability of facts is very severe after 20 minutes. In later blogs we can discuss how to interview witnesses and how to get good quality data. Image 2: The Forgetting curve 1885. Copyright: User Perspective and HM Government (for this version). The important bit now is to think about the basic processes of human memory, which are: Perception – information gets into the mind. Encoding – its related to other facts and ‘digitised’. Storage – we need to keep it somewhere. Retrieval. Unless it can be extracted, it’s not useful. Each of these stages is associated with a decline in the quality of data and its retrieval is based on the ability of (in this case) the interviewer extracting it. As we are talking about when, the important thing is to get to those memories as quickly as possible and, certainly in medicine, to ensure that witnesses don’t get to chat to each other. If you want evidence from humans – get it quickly and ensure they don’t talk to each other. How quickly? It’s called the golden 24 hours in accident investigation – even though the graph from 1885 suggests a lot shorter time span. Incidentally, the person(s) reporting the incident needs acknowledgement a lot quicker than the 24 hours. Your availability and access Ideally you are a human factors person with a ‘go bag’. I’ve several ‘go bags’ that contain equipment needed for each domain (road, rail, security) I work in. The road one has green high vis, the rail has orange. The security one has assorted passes and body armour. This may be different in medicine. You might not be the first person called, and you work shifts, the chances of a call in the middle of the night is most likely rare. In other domains access is aided by blue lights and the possibility of handcuffs. Healthcare is different – remember these blogs are about prevention rather than prosecution. However, the point is that every second counts and the sooner you are there the better the data. Summary The facts you collect, how those facts are collected, and by who and when, affects the conclusions you can draw about the incident. Physical data lasts longer than human memory data but, as the picture of the ‘converted’ aircraft shows – things change. Who and when the facts are collected affects the interventions you can use, and the reliability of testing those interventions you trial / test. Human factors people or psychologists are a vital part of the team. They are only part of the team. You should see a pattern. What evidence (when it’s done and by whom) you collect, affects the intervention and its success. With no data you should not do any interventions. Indeed, without data you may not wish to. Remember it’s about outcomes and not just documented processes. In the words of the philosophers – Metallica – “nothing else matters”. Next time... Human factors part 2, or should we do interventions? Like the Star Wars films, these blogs may appear in the wrong order but the final box set hopefully makes sense! Comments welcome young Skywalker. Read Martin's other blogs Why investigate? Part 1 Why investigate? Part 2: Where do facts come from (mummy)? Who should investigate? Part 3 Human factors – the scientific study of man in her built environment. Part 4 How or why. Part 6
  10. Community Post
    Here's a recent interesting blog post on leadership under pressure https://www.med-led.co.uk/2019/08/19/under-pressure/
  11. Content Article
    Ah – a new year. A new decade. People around the world celebrate such affairs with fireworks, noisemakers, champagne and resolutions they’ll never keep. In America, we revel with all those things and ... the ’Granddaddy of them all‘... The Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl is an annual college football face-off between two champion teams held in Pasadena, California. The event is huge, complicated, prestigious and widely anticipated. This musing on Rose Bowl activities and how they might highlight safety concepts ‘kicks off’ my 2020 Letter from America series. A renowned part of the franchise is the Tournament of the Roses parade. The 2020 parade theme was the ’Power of Hope‘. Volunteers, sponsors and organisations collaborate to produce a 5.5 mile spectacle involving over 40 floats, numerous marching bands and millions of flowers for viewer enjoyment. Collaboration is key to achieve medication safety too. In a recent study published in the Quality Management in Healthcare journal, a community health organisation’s successful method of frontline staff committee engagement generated process changes that culminated in reduced medication errors and increased near misses. Continuous quality improvement initiatives supported by these committees included technical handling and administration of medication, medication reconciliation, and enhancements to standardised treatment protocols. Following the pomp and beauty of the parade comes the gridiron... the grit... the sweat... the teamwork. College teams are selected based on their performance during the year. Their individual and team competencies are what get them to Pasadena and give their fans hope for a win. Competencies are important for developing reliability no matter what field you play on. The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) has identified key competencies that should be considered for inclusion in health professions education programmes to improve the quality and safety of diagnosis in clinical practice. They fill a noticeable gap in health professional education by embedding reasoning and partnering skill development into healthcare curricula. The SIDM approach emphasises individual, team and system level skills to hone clinician diagnostic abilities and orientation to diagnosis as a team. In football and in healthcare, teams follow processes and plans but should be empowered to adapt when the situation calls for it. For example, TeamStepps is a US-government developed team training programme originally designed to enhance communication in acute care. A recent pilot study tested its application in mental health teams in schools to reduce staff burnout and turnover. This unique health environment adapted the TeamStepps method to improve organisational culture and provide support for the wide array of practitioners that provide care in schools. The success of the initiative improved team-based care delivery at the organisation. Football holds for the teams, management and consumers the potential not only for spectacular performance but for mistakes that can result in injury. Fatigue and distractions can often be a factor in football injury on the pitch; so too can these factors result in injury in healthcare. The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PSA) released a 4-year analysis of newborn falls in the hospital following birth. Parental fatigue was a primary contributory factor that emerged from the investigation. The PSA describes educational tactics to help parents understand the potential risks for infant drops and encourages them to ask for nursing assistance in feeding if they feel overly tired to keep their babies safe. Keeping track of disruptive behaviour is a relatively new effort for healthcare. Until recently, there was no way to raise a flag to indicate poor behaviour that can distract from team cohesion, coordination and communication. In a recent study, a large US health system devised a tool to evaluate disruptive behaviour among its ranks, measure its effect on teamwork, burnout and patient safety, and use that data to define improvement targets. In the sample, researchers found disruptive behaviour to exist in approximately 98% of work settings. The upside of this discouraging figure is that the tool effectively tracked disruptive behaviours so they can be addressed. There is hope for improvement – once a problem can be measured work can commence to fix it. While not a strategy, hope motivates, as presented by Sidney Dekker in his movie: Safety Differently. Hope situates the future in possibility, instils learning from what goes array and sustains efforts to stay true to goals. Let’s keep hope alive as we work to score touchdowns for safety in 2020.
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