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Study: Concurrent surgeries are safe

A review of more than 2,000 neurosurgical cases published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no greater risk of postoperative complications for patients operated on by surgeons conducting overlapping surgeries. This casts a new light on the controversial practice, which is routine at many facilities nationwide.

The study, published earlier this month, examined patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta from 2014 to 2015. Of the 2,275 cases reviewed, about 43% had the surgeon remain with the patient through the entire procedure. In the other 57% of cases, the primary surgeon performed two procedures in different operating rooms.

In the 90 days following their operations, no difference was found in morbidity, mortality, or worsened outcome measures between the two groups of patients. The researchers concluded that this data suggests overlapping neurosurgeries are safe and may benefit patients by allowing sought-after specialists to see more patients.

That said, researchers did note that overlapping surgeries were notably longer than when one surgery was done at a time. And guidelines from the American College of Surgeons require that patients be informed that they’ll be undergoing a concurrent surgery.

“Surgeons must use their experience, keen intuition and respect for their own ability and limitations to carefully select patients” for overlapping surgery, the authors wrote.

Webinar: Suicide Prevention in Hospitals: Reduce Risk and Comply With Joint Commission Requirements

Presented on: Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST
Speaker: Ernest E. Allen, ARM, CSP, CPHRM, CHFM
Program Level: Intermediate 
Registration: http://hcmarketplace.com/suicide-prevention-in-hospitals

Summary:  Hospitals are continually working to reduce the risk of patient suicide in their facilities, but the problem persists. The Joint Commission has placed particular emphasis on reducing suicide risk, including a National Patient Safety Goal and a recent Sentinel Event Alert.

In this webinar, former Joint Commission surveyor Ernest E. Allen, ARM, CSP, CPHRM, CHFM, will explain how hospitals can identify and reduce suicide risks and improve compliance with Joint Commission requirements.

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Identify suicide risks in hospitals
  • Be able to reference applicable Joint Commission standards and Sentinel Event Alerts
  •  Learn prevention methods to help lower suicide risk

West Virginia cities sue Joint Commission over alleged role in opioid crisis

Four West Virginia cities and towns filed a class-action lawsuit against The Joint Commission and Joint Commission Resources on November 2, claiming the accreditor “grossly misrepresented the addictive qualities of opioids” in their pain management standards. The town of Ceredo and cities of Charleston, Huntington, and Kenova claim that those standards forced hospitals to prescribe unsafe amounts of painkillers, fueling addiction and deaths in the state. [Is there any dollar amount named in the lawsuit? What is it asking for?]

“This lawsuit is a critical move toward eliminating the source of opioid addiction and holding one of the most culpable parties responsible,” said Huntington Mayor Steve Williams. “For too long, [The Joint Commission] has operated in concert with opioid producers to establish pain management guidelines that feature the use of opioids virtually without restriction. The [commission’s] standards are based on bad science, if they are based on any science at all.”

West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation, with 41.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2015. Huntington and Cabell County had the highest overdose fatality rate in the state last year.

The lawsuit claims that the pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma (the makers of OxyContin) worked with The Joint Commission to create the pain management standards. These companies stood to gain from the overuse of their drugs, the lawsuit claims.

The Joint Commission accredits at least 10 hospitals and healthcare facilities in Charleston and Huntington, and other cities and towns are expected to join the federal lawsuit.

The Joint Commission updated its pain management standards in June to reduce over prescriptions, which will take effect on January 1. However, the lawsuit says the accreditor waited too long to make those changes.

This isn’t the first time that The Joint Commission has come under fire either. In 2016 more than 60 medical experts and nonprofit organizations signed petitions asking the commission to change its standards. Claiming they “foster dangerous pain control practices, the endpoint of which is often the inappropriate provision of opioids with disastrous adverse consequences for individuals, families, and communities.”

Webinar: USP <800>: Hazardous Drug Compliance and Safety in 2018

Presented on: 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST, Monday, October 30, 2017  

Presented by: Patricia C. Kienle, RPh, MPA, FASHP

Level of Program: IntermediateHCPro Webcast Icon

Who should listen: Accreditation specialists, regulatory officers, safety officers, pharmacists, and any healthcare staff who work with hazardous drugs

Registration: https://hcmarketplace.com/usp-800-drug-compliance-safety-2018 

Summary: Making drugs is risky business, even when it’s done in hospital pharmacies. From the person carrying the chemicals from the loading bay to the person doing the actual mixing, improper exposure to hazardous medication compounding substances can have lasting and devastating health effects.

On December 1, 2019, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s (USP) Chapter <800> will become fully enforceable by regulators. This chapter addresses the physical environment and equipment needed to maintain sterility and protect the 8 million healthcare workers potentially exposed to hazardous vapors and particles each year. USP is expected to be adopted by many regulators and accreditors, such as state pharmacy boards and The Joint Commission.

 

Join expert speaker Patricia C. Kienle, RPh, MPA, FASHP, for this 90-minute webinar, as she dives into the different types of hazardous drugs and the requirements for compliance. Kienle will also teach participants how to perform an Assessment of Risk and how to stay safe when handling hazardous drugs.

 

Registration is still open, sign up now!

 

 

Crucial accreditation deadlines on the horizon for pain management and emergency preparedness

Time is running out to meet the new emergency management (EM) Conditions of Participation (CoP) and The Joint Commission’s revised pain management standards. The EM Interpretive Guidelines go into effect on November 15 while the pain management standards go into effect January 1.

Emergency management

The new EM CoPs fill gaps CMS’ previous regulations by compelling hospitals to communicate and coordinate their emergency plans with other healthcare organizations and government agencies. They also require regular emergency preparedness training with staff and disaster contingency planning.

Steve MacArthur, a safety consultant at The Greeley Company, pointed out that a lot of the new requirements include things that hospitals should have already been doing.

“While this rule is new to the ‘marketplace,’ there are really no new concepts contained therein,” he says. “This may provide some guidance for CMS surveyors as they drill down on organizational preparedness activities. But none of this is groundbreaking or in any way representative of a change in how hospitals have done, and will continue to do, business. [It’s] just another set of official ‘eyes’ looking through the compliance microscope.”

Pain management

The Joint Commission prepublished its new pain management standards back in June. The accreditor said it used the revision to address disparities between its standards and what the literature recommended. Some of the changes include:

•    Enabling clinician access to prescription drug monitoring program databases

•    Performance improvement activities focusing on pain assessment and management to increase the safety and quality for patients

•    Identifying the leader or leadership team responsible for pain management and safe opioid prescribing

•    Involving patients in developing their treatment plans and setting realistic expectations and measurable goals

•    Identifying and monitoring high-risk patients as a way to promote safe opioid use

Facilities should assign teams to research best practices in pain management, get the medical staff working on revising protocols and deter¬mining how to gather data on pain management effectiveness, and alert your information technology and electronic health records experts that they will be needed.

The annual fire and smoke door testing requirements will also be due by January 2018.

New may not be better: hospital returns to paper and happier docs

The Illinois Pain Institute (IPI) was having trouble with its electronic health records (EHR). So they got rid of them and went back to paper. And they aren’t planning on going back anytime soon.

Two years ago, all 70 members of the IPI voted unanimously to get rid of its EHR saying it was slowing down care and alienating patients.

“We felt the level of patient care was not enhanced by an electronic health record. We saw it was inefficient and added nonproductive work to physicians’ time,” John Prunskis, MD, IPI founder and co-medical director told Becker’s Hospital Review. 

Since the switch, IPI has reported greater ease communicating information between hospital systems, less time spent on data entry, happier patients and staff.

“The EHR hinders data exchange,” he says. “One EHR doesn’t talk to another EHR, and there’s many reasons for that. The other thing is when you dictate a paper note with the relevant clinical findings and history, it’s rather succinct, but with the EHR, there’s a problem. The EHR is pages and pages of mind-numbing text, where important labs and information can be lost. Before, a note might be a half-page long, but now it can be five, six pages long, and doctors frequently can’t find what’s relevant through the reams of text and clutter.”

The IPI’s feelings are echoed by many physicians, according to the Mayo Clinic, which in 2016 found in EHR usage reduces physician satisfaction and increases burnout. Another study from the same year found that for every hour physicians spend with patients, they spend two hours interfacing with their EHR.

“Electronic health records hold great promise for enhancing coordination of care and improving quality of care,” said Tait Shanafelt, MD, Mayo Clinic physician and lead author of the study, in a statement. “In their current form and implementation, however, they have had a number of unintended negative consequences including reducing efficiency, increasing clerical burden and increasing the risk of burnout for physicians.”

 

Joint Commission revises Medication Management EPs

The Joint Commission has revised Medication Management elements of performance (EP) for several of its programs. The changes will go into effect on January 1, 2018 and will impact hospitals, ambulatory care, behavioral care, home care, nursing care centers, critical access hospitals, and office-based practices accredited by The Joint Commission. The revisions will require organizations to:

•    Record the date and time of any medication administered in the patient’s clinical record.
•    Implement a policy to provide emergency backup for essential medication dispensing equipment and for essential refrigeration for medications.
•    Have a written policy addressing the control of medications between when they are received by a provider and given to a patient. Those policies should now include what to do for the “wasting of medications.”
•    Implement a policy describing the types of medication overrides for automatic dispensing cabinets that will be reviewed for appropriateness and the frequency.

The revisions vary depending on the program.

AAMI takes action on medical cart fires

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report warning that mobile medical carts have been overheating, igniting, smoking, burning, or exploding. This July, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) responded by convening a group of experts to talk about this new fire hazard.Explosion

Similar to the infamous Samsung Galaxy 8, the fires are caused by carts’ lithium batteries and are extremely hard to extinguish. In some cases, firefighters have had to bury medical carts to put out the flames.

“Surely, we’re not going to wait until there’s a patient incident to do something,” said Ram Dhurjaty, president of Dhurjaty Electronics Consulting, during the AAMI meeting.

A 2016 FDA survey revealed that half of hospital respondents have experienced a cart battery or electrical-related problem during the previous two years. In response, the agency put out a letter to healthcare professionals about the dangers. 

“We’ve learned that for most medical cart fires, the products in question met all applicable battery safety standards, including cell-level, pack-level, and product-level standards, and we believe a majority of these were legitimate certified products,” Pete Segar, CEO of medical cart manufacturer Ergotron, told HFAP. “There is good reason to believe that incidents of lithium battery fires will continue. We need to take action to reduce the likelihood of fires that could cause serious safety events in a healthcare setting.”

“Current industry standards have not been adequate,” he continued. “Most likely because the failures are caused by low likelihood contamination or defects that are not present in the nominal designs tested during the certification process. Developing new standards would be influential in driving innovations that could have a major impact on improving safety.”

In response, the AAMI has created three priorities and work groups to help hospitals with this problem.

1.    “Conduct failure analyses for high-capacity batteries in the health care setting and develop a feedback loop with device and battery manufacturers so this information can be incorporated into future designs.”
2.    “Develop new or update existing battery design standards to reflect the best practices found in UL’s Safety Issues for Lithium-Ion Batteries, AdvaMed’s Successful Practices for Battery-Powered Medical Devices, and other published documents.”
3.    “Train health care technology management professionals about safe battery management practices.”

Those interested in joining AAMI’s workgroups should contact Joe Lewelling, AAMI’s vice president of emerging technologies and health IT, at jlewelling@aami.org.

Policies for the Use of Personal Mobile Devices in Surgical Suites

Written by Anne V. Irving, MA, FACHE, CPHRM, DFASHRM and published in PSQH 

cellphone

When is it okay to text and operate?

Human factors studies indicate that distractions and multitasking increase the likelihood of error (Feil, 2013; Wiegmann, ElBardissi, Dearani, Daly, & Sundt, 2007). Allowing personnel to bring their cell phones, smartphones, or other mobile devices into a surgical suite introduces a new distraction into an already complex, noisy, high-stakes environment. Rather than assume that perioperative personnel will always use their best judgment, health systems should adopt formal, written policies, procedures, or guidelines for the use of personal devices in order to provide:

  • Clarity regarding specific performance expectations
  • A basis for enforcement, if instances of noncompliance are reported
  • A clear message that patient safety is the highest priority at all times

Several perioperative professional associations have weighed in on the use of personal mobile devices, including the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. See the appendix for the American College of Surgeons’ statement on the use of cell phones in the operating room and links to policies of other organizations.

Choosing a risk mitigation strategy

Healthcare leaders who decide to limit use of personal mobile devices during work hours must balance multiple considerations: patient safety, the impact on workflows in the organization, and the potential effect on employees and affiliated providers. Policies to control the use of personal devices can be perceived as positioned at various points on the risk mitigation continuum (Figure 1).

Option A

Choosing not to develop a formal policy regarding the use of personal devices (Option A) offers little, if any, risk mitigation. With no guidelines to follow, some staff members may feel compelled to look at or use their mobile device when engaged in direct patient care that requires their full attention. Such mental distractions increase the likelihood of medical errors. [more]

Celebrating World Hepatitis Day 2017

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day, and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint Commission have reaffirmed their commitment to eradicating Hepatitis B and C by 2030.

The WHO says there’s promising data coming out of the 28 countries that represent 70% of the global hepatitis burden. Nearly all of those countries have established high-level national hepatitis elimination committees (with plans and targets in place) and over half have allocated dedicated funding for hepatitis programs and education. The organization also added a new generic treatment to its list of Hep C medicines to increase access to therapy this week.

“It is encouraging to see countries turning commitment into action to tackle hepatitis,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General in a public statement. “Identifying interventions that have a high impact is a key step towards eliminating this devastating disease. Many countries have succeeded in scaling-up the hepatitis B vaccination. Now we need to push harder to increase access to diagnosis and treatment.”

Viral hepatitis affected 325 million people worldwide in 2015 and caused 1.34 million deaths—more those people killed by HIV deaths. Of cases worldwide, 257 million were of Hep B and 71 million were Hep C, which are the two main killers of the five types of hepatitis. And while Hep C can be cured, only 7% of those infected have access to treatment.

“If you’ve been paying attention to health news, you’ve probably heard that everyone, especially Baby Boomers, should be screened for Hepatitis C,” Lisa Waldowski, DNP, PNP, CIC, Joint Commission infection control specialist wrote in a press release. “Testing for the disease, which produces few, if any symptoms, leads to treatment and, eventually, eradication of the Hep C virus that was transmitted at its highest rates from 1960 to 1980.”

The promotion of blood safety and infection control are also key factors in reducing both Hep B and C transmission. However, a 2016 study found that only 17.4% of U.S. nurses follow all the standard blood-borne disease precautions. http://goo.gl/jn7i2y The study also found that many nurses had several misconceptions about Hep C including:

  • 26% incorrectly believed Hep C is commonly spread through sexual activity (it’s spread primarily through blood)
  • 14% incorrectly think most Hep C victims will die prematurely
  • 12% didn’t know that people can have Hep C antibodies without currently being infected
  • 11% didn’t know that there’re multiple Hep C genotypes

“The national response towards hepatitis elimination is gaining momentum. However, at best one in ten people who are living with hepatitis know they are infected and can access treatment. This is unacceptable,” said Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, WHO’s Director of the HIV Department and Global Hepatitis Programme. “For hepatitis elimination to become a reality, countries need to accelerate their efforts and increase investments in life-saving care. There is simply no reason why many millions of people still have not been tested for hepatitis and cannot access the treatment for which they are in dire need.”

The Joint Commission has made a list of several resources about hepatitis, and the WHO press release came with a list of injection safety tools and resources.