Postgraduate medical education and training in many specialties, including Clinical Radiology, is undergoing major changes. In part this is to ensure that shorter training periods maximise the learning opportunities but it is also to bring medical education in line with broader educational theory. Learning outcomes need to be defined so that there is no doubt what knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours are expected of those in training. Curricula should be developed into competency or outcome based models and should state the aims, objectives, content, outcomes and processes of a training programme. They should include a description of the methods of learning, teaching, feedback and supervision. Assessment systems must be matched to the curriculum and must be fair, reliable and valid. Workplace based assessments including the use of multisource feedback need to be developed and validated for use during radiology training. These should be used in a formative and developmental way, although the overall results from a series of such assessments can be used in a more summative way to determine progress to the next phase of training. Formal standard setting processes need to be established for ‘high stakes’ summative assessments such as examinations. In addition the unique skills required of a radiologist in terms of image interpretation, pattern recognition, deduction and diagnosis need to be evaluated in robust, reliable and valid ways. Through a combination of these methods we can be assured that decisions about trainees’ progression through training is fair and standardised and that we are protecting patients by establishing national standards for training, curricula and assessment methods.
Postgraduate; radiology; training; education
In the fall of 1999, the Institute of Medicine released “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” a sobering report on the safety of the American healthcare industry. This work and others like it have ushered in an era where the science of quality assurance has quickly become an integral facet of the practice of medicine. One critical component of this new era is the development, application, and refinement of checklists. In a few short years, the checklist has evolved from being perceived as an assault on the practitioner’ integrity to being welcomed as an important tool in reducing complications and preventing medical errors. In an effort to further expand the neurosurgical community's acceptance of surgical checklists, we review the rationale behind checklists, discuss the history of medical and surgical checklists, and remark upon the future of checklists within our field.
Checklist; complications; medical errors; neurosurgery; surgery
In late 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report recommending more restrictive limits on resident work hours to promote patient safety. Reaction from the graduate medical education community has focused on concerns about a lack of evidence supporting the IOM’s recommendations. We highlight 3 concerns with the report: 1) a disproportionate attention to resident fatigue when changes in other areas may have a larger impact on patient safety. Data supporting a causal link between resident fatigue and medical errors that harm patients are not robust. Two areas where data support a stronger impact on patient safety include resident supervision and transitions of care; 2) a “one size fits all” model when specialty-specific recommendations may be more appropriate. For example, 16 hours on task is not at all similar for residents in different specialties (ie, surgery and primary care); and 3) the absence of a process to evaluate the impact of current or potential duty hour requirements on outcomes. Because these potential impacts have not been sufficiently researched, it is premature to support additional changes at this time.
To move forward in a comprehensive manner, we recommend the following: 1) support more research to evaluate the effects of duty hours in conjunction with other interrelated factors on patient safety, 2) encourage individual Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Review committees to develop specialty specific duty hour limitations, and 3) develop partnerships between the IOM, ACGME, and the institutions directly involved with medical education to study how to maximize patient safety while maintaining quality educational outcomes.
Computerized medical information systems have been popularized over the last two decades to improve quality and safety, and for decreasing medical errors.
To develop a clinician-friendly computer-based support system in the intensive care unit (ICU) that incorporates recording, reminders, alerts, checklists and diagnostic differentials for common conditions encountered in critical care.
Materials and Methods:
This project was carried out at the Medical ICU CMC Hospital, Vellore, in collaboration with the Computer Science Department, VIT University. The first phase was to design and develop monitoring and medication sheets. Terminologies such as checklists (intervention list that pops up at defined times for all patients), reminders (intervention unique to each patient) and alerts (time-based, value-based, trend-based) were defined. The diagnostic and intervention bundles were characterized in the second phase. The accuracy and reliability of the software to generate alerts, reminders and diagnoses was tested in the third phase. The fourth phase will be to integrate this with the hospital information system and the bedside monitors.
Alpha testing was performed using six scenarios written by intensivists. The software generated real-time alerts and reminders and provided diagnostic differentials relevant to critical care. Predefined interventions for each diagnostic possibility appeared as pop-ups. Problems identified during alpha testing were rectified prior to beta testing.
The use of a computer-assisted monitoring, recording and diagnostic system appears promising. It is envisaged that further software refinements following beta testing would facilitate the improvement of quality and safety in the critical care environment.
Alerts; alpha testing; checklist; decision support system; computer-assisted recording; diagnosis and management of the medically-ill
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires fellows in many specialties to demonstrate attainment of 6 core competencies, yet relatively few validated assessment tools currently exist. We present our initial experience with the design and implementation of a standardized patient (SP) exercise during gastroenterology fellowship that facilitates appraisal of all core clinical competencies.
Fellows evaluated an SP trained to portray an individual referred for evaluation of abnormal liver tests. The encounters were independently graded by the SP and a faculty preceptor for patient care, professionalism, and interpersonal and communication skills using quantitative checklist tools. Trainees' consultation notes were scored using predefined key elements (medical knowledge) and subjected to a coding audit (systems-based practice). Practice-based learning and improvement was addressed via verbal feedback from the SP and self-assessment of the videotaped encounter.
Six trainees completed the exercise. Second-year fellows received significantly higher scores in medical knowledge (55.0 ± 4.2 [standard deviation], P = .05) and patient care skills (19.5 ± 0.7, P = .04) by a faculty evaluator as compared with first-year trainees (46.2 ± 2.3 and 14.7 ± 1.5, respectively). Scores correlated by Spearman rank (0.82, P = .03) with the results of the Gastroenterology Training Examination. Ratings of the fellows by the SP did not differ by level of training, nor did they correlate with faculty scores. Fellows viewed the exercise favorably, with most indicating they would alter their practice based on the experience.
An SP exercise is an efficient and effective tool for assessing core clinical competencies during fellowship training.
Toxicology for coroners is an important minority service whose quality is central to the validity and integrity of the death certification system. Multidisciplinary case conferences are routine practice in the major medical specialties. In conventional practice for the coroners’ courts, the dissecting pathologist is often relied upon to interpret toxicological data usually without specialist training. In Ireland the service is fragmented and there is at present no medically trained toxicologist directly involved in the direction or reporting of cases even where multiple drugs are found in blood at various levels and drug-drug interaction may be possible or likely. To encourage both medical professionals and political administration to confront the issues, the education literature on action research and critical incident methodology is reviewed to develop a strategy for change in this service. An example of action research being applied to medicine is used as an indicator that an action research template could be used to advocate for a new National Institute for Forensic Toxicology in Ireland. The main participant groups are identified and the development cycle outlined.
Defining valid, reliable, defensible, and generalizable standards for the evaluation of learner performance is a key issue in assessing both baseline competence and mastery in medical education. However, prior to setting these standards of performance, the reliability of the scores yielding from a grading tool must be assessed. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to assess the reliability of scores generated from a set of grading checklists used by non-expert raters during simulations of American Heart Association (AHA) MegaCodes.
The reliability of scores generated from a detailed set of checklists, when used by four non-expert raters, was tested by grading team leader performance in eight MegaCode scenarios. Videos of the scenarios were reviewed and rated by trained faculty facilitators and by a group of non-expert raters. The videos were reviewed “continuously” and “with pauses.” Two content experts served as the reference standard for grading, and four non-expert raters were used to test the reliability of the checklists.
Our results demonstrate that non-expert raters are able to produce reliable grades when using the checklists under consideration, demonstrating excellent intra-rater reliability and agreement with a reference standard. The results also demonstrate that non-expert raters can be trained in the proper use of the checklist in a short amount of time, with no discernible learning curve thereafter. Finally, our results show that a single trained rater can achieve reliable scores of team leader performance during AHA MegaCodes when using our checklist in continuous mode, as measures of agreement in total scoring were very strong (Lin’s Concordance Correlation Coefficient = 0.96; Intraclass Correlation Coefficient = 0.97).
We have shown that our checklists can yield reliable scores, are appropriate for use by non-expert raters, and are able to be employed during continuous assessment of team leader performance during the review of a simulated MegaCode. This checklist may be more appropriate for use by Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) instructors during MegaCode assessments than current tools provided by the AHA.
simulation; education; checklist; reliability; ACLS
Studies have highlighted the effects the use of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist can have on lowering mortality and surgical complications. Implementation of the checklist is not easy and several barriers have been identified. Few studies have addressed personnel’s acceptance and attitudes toward the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist. Determining personnel’s acceptance might reflect their intention to use the checklist while their awareness and knowledge of the checklist might assess the effectiveness of the training process.
Through an anonymous self- responded questionnaire, general characteristics of the respondents (age, gender, profession and years spent studying or working at the hospital), knowledge of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist (awareness of existence, knowledge of objectives, knowledge of correct use), acceptance of the checklist and its implementation (including personal belief of benefits of using the checklist), current use, teamwork and safety climate appreciation were determined.
Of the 147 surgical personnel who answered the questionnaire, 93.8% were aware of the existence of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and 88.8% of them reported knowing its objectives. More nurses than other personnel knew the checklist had to be used before the induction of anesthesia, skin incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room. Most personnel thought using the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is beneficial and that its implementation was a good decision. Between 73.7% and 100% of nurses in public and private hospitals, respectively, reported the checklist had been used either always or almost always in the general elective surgeries they had participated in during the current year.
Despite high acceptance of the checklist among personnel, gaps in knowledge about when the checklist should be used still exist. This can jeopardize effective implementation and correct use of the checklist in hospitals in Guatemala City. Efforts should aim to universal awareness and complete knowledge on why and how the checklist should be used.
Medication errors may result in serious safety issues for patients. Medication error issues are more prevalent among elderly patients, who take more medications and have prescriptions that change frequently. The challenge of obtaining accurate medication histories for the elderly at the time of hospital admission creates the potential for medication errors starting at admission.
A study at a central Texas hospital was conducted to assess whether an electronic medication checklist can enhance the accuracy of medication histories for the elderly. The empirical outcome demonstrated that medication errors were significantly reduced by using an electronic medication checklist at the time of admission. The findings of this study suggest that implementing electronic health record systems with decision support for identifying inaccurate doses and frequencies of prescribed medicines will increase the accuracy of patients’ medication histories.
electronic medication checklist; medication history; adverse drug events (ADEs); admission interview; the elderly; medication errors; electronic health record
Rationale: Checklists may reduce errors of omission for critically ill patients.
Objectives: To determine whether prompting to use a checklist improves process of care and clinical outcomes.
Methods: We conducted a cohort study in the medical intensive care unit (MICU) of a tertiary care university hospital. Patients admitted to either of two independent MICU teams were included. Intervention team physicians were prompted to address six parameters from a daily rounding checklist if overlooked during morning work rounds. The second team (control) used the identical checklist without prompting.
Measurements and Main Results: One hundred and forty prompted group patients were compared with 125 control and 1,283 preintervention patients. Compared with control, prompting increased median ventilator-free duration, decreased empirical antibiotic and central venous catheter duration, and increased rates of deep vein thrombosis and stress ulcer prophylaxis. Prompted group patients had lower risk-adjusted ICU mortality compared with the control group (odds ratio, 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.13–0.96; P = 0.041) and lower hospital mortality compared with the control group (10.0 vs. 20.8%; P = 0.014), which remained significant after risk adjustment (odds ratio, 0.34; 95% confidence interval, 0.15–0.76; P = 0.008). Observed-to-predicted ICU length of stay was lower in the prompted group compared with control (0.59 vs. 0.87; P = 0.02). Checklist availability alone did not improve mortality or length of stay compared with preintervention patients.
Conclusions: In this single-site, preliminary study, checklist-based prompting improved multiple processes of care, and may have improved mortality and length of stay, compared with a stand-alone checklist. The manner in which checklists are implemented is of great consequence in the care of critically ill patients.
outcome and process assessment; quality improvement; critical care
We evaluated the effects of two health education teaching methods, a pamphlet based on a task-analyzed checklist and two professionally developed films, on the completeness, accuracy, and maintenance of testicular self-examinations (TSE). Subjects (N = 48) were videotaped while performing a TSE after training and at a follow-up visit. Direct observation of the tapes showed that checklist-based training resulted in more complete and longer TSEs (p < .05). Social validation ratings, however, suggested that physicians were unable to discriminate reliably the performances of subjects taught using the two methods. Accuracy of detection of simulated lesions on plastic models was also similar for the two groups. Adherence to TSE recommendations was high during the study, but declined across the follow-up period. Further study is needed to promote adherence to TSE and to document the effects of early detection on morbidity and mortality of testicular cancer.
Patient safety is seldom assessed using objective evaluations during undergraduate medical education.
To evaluate the performance of fifth-year medical students using an objective structured clinical examination focused on patient safety after implementation of an interactive program based on adverse events recognition and disclosure.
In 2007, a patient safety program was implemented in the internal medicine clerkship of our hospital. The program focused on human error theory, epidemiology of incidents, adverse events, and disclosure. Upon completion of the program, students completed an objective structured clinical examination with five stations and standardized patients. One station focused on patient safety issues, including medical error recognition/disclosure, the patient-physician relationship and humanism issues. A standardized checklist was completed by each standardized patient to assess the performance of each student. The student's global performance at each station and performance in the domains of medical error, the patient-physician relationship and humanism were determined. The correlations between the student performances in these three domains were calculated.
A total of 95 students participated in the objective structured clinical examination. The mean global score at the patient safety station was 87.59±1.24 points. Students' performance in the medical error domain was significantly lower than their performance on patient-physician relationship and humanistic issues. Less than 60% of students (n = 54) offered the simulated patient an apology after a medical error occurred. A significant correlation was found between scores obtained in the medical error domains and scores related to both the patient-physician relationship and humanistic domains.
An objective structured clinical examination is a useful tool to evaluate patient safety competencies during the medical student clerkship.
Organized Structured Clinical Examination; Patient Safety; Medical Education; Assessment; Clerkship
Radiation, for either diagnosis or treatment, is used extensively in the field of oncology. An understanding of oncology radiation safety principles and how to apply them in practice is critical for nursing practice. Misconceptions about radiation are common, resulting in undue fears and concerns that may negatively impact patient care. Effectively educating nurses to help overcome these misconceptions is a challenge. Historically, radiation safety training programs for oncology nurses have been compliance-based and behavioral in philosophy.
A new radiation safety training initiative was developed for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) adapting elements of current adult education theories to address common misconceptions and to enhance knowledge. A research design for evaluating the revised training program was also developed to assess whether the revised training program resulted in a measurable and/or statistically significant change in the knowledge or attitudes of nurses toward working with radiation. An evaluation research design based on a conceptual framework for measuring knowledge and attitude was developed and implemented using a pretest-intervention-posttest approach for 15% of the study population of 750 inpatient registered oncology nurses.
As a result of the intervention program, there was a significant difference in nurse's cognitive knowledge as measured with the test instrument from pretest (58.9%) to posttest (71.6%). The evaluation also demonstrated that while positive nursing attitudes increased, the increase was significant for only 5 out of 9 of the areas evaluated.
The training intervention was effective for increasing cognitive knowledge, but was less effective at improving overall attitudes. This evaluation provided insights into the effectiveness of training interventions on the radiation safety knowledge and attitude of oncology nurses.
Significant event analysis (SEA) is promoted as a team-based approach to enhancing patient safety through reflective learning. Evidence of SEA participation is required for appraisal and contractual purposes in UK general practice. A voluntary educational model in the west of Scotland enables general practitioners (GPs) and doctors-in-training to submit SEA reports for feedback from trained peers. We reviewed reports to identify the range of safety issues analysed, learning needs raised and actions taken by GP teams.
Content analysis of SEA reports submitted in an 18 month period between 2005 and 2007.
191 SEA reports were reviewed. 48 described patient harm (25.1%). A further 109 reports (57.1%) outlined circumstances that had the potential to cause patient harm. Individual 'error' was cited as the most common reason for event occurrence (32.5%). Learning opportunities were identified in 182 reports (95.3%) but were often non-specific professional issues not shared with the wider practice team. 154 SEA reports (80.1%) described actions taken to improve practice systems or professional behaviour. However, non-medical staff were less likely to be involved in the changes resulting from event analyses describing patient harm (p < 0.05)
The study provides some evidence of the potential of SEA to improve healthcare quality and safety. If applied rigorously, GP teams and doctors in training can use the technique to investigate and learn from a wide variety of quality issues including those resulting in patient harm. This leads to reported change but it is unclear if such improvement is sustained.
Ethics education aims to train physicians to identify and resolve ethical issues. To address ethical concerns, physicians may need to confront each other. We surveyed medical students to determine if their comfort challenging members of their ward teams about ethical issues varies by specialty and what attributes of students and their teams contributed to that comfort. Compared to other specialties, students felt significantly less comfortable challenging team members about ethical issues on surgery and obstetrics/gynecology. We suggest that ethics education must address the atmosphere on ward teams and give students skills to help them speak out despite their discomfort.
medical ethics; ethics education; medical education; medical; undergraduate communication
In the US, accreditation and certification of residency training are functions of separate public sector agencies. Accrediting decisions are made directly by 26 Residency Review Committees, which represent the primary medical specialties and function under the authority of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The accrediting bodies may consider only educational issues and are prohibited by the government from controlling physician supply. Only the programme, not the institution in which it is conducted, is accredited. The US residency is a structured educational programme that is expected to provide comparable experience to all enrolled residents. Length of training may vary from two to six years depending on the specialty. Additional training may be obtained in subspecialty programmes, which are subsets of the primary specialty residencies and are also reviewed for accreditation. These have increased in significant number in recent years as subspecialisation has proliferated in the US.
Adverse events that place patients at risk for harm are common in intensive care units. Clinicians’ level of knowledge and judgment appear to play a role in the prevention, mitigation, and creation of adverse advents. Research suggests a possible association between nurses’ specialty certification and clinical expertise. The relationship between specialty certification and clinical competence of registered nurses and safety of patients is a relatively new area of inquiry in nursing.
To explore the relationship between the proportion of certified staff nurses in a unit and risk of harm to patients.
Hierarchical linear modeling was used in a secondary data analysis of 48 intensive care units from a random sample of 29 hospitals to examine the relationships between unit certification rates, organizational nursing characteristics (magnet status, staffing, education, and experience), and rates of medication administration errors, falls, skin breakdown, and 3 types of nosocomial infections. Medicare case mix index was used to adjust for patient risk.
Unit proportion of certified staff registered nurses was inversely related to rate of falls, and total hours of nursing care was positively related to medication administration errors. The mean number of years of experience of registered nurses in the unit was inversely related to frequency of urinary tract infections; however, the small sample size requires that caution be exercised when interpreting results.
Specialty certification and competence of registered nurses are related to patients’ safety. Further research on this relationship is needed.
To determine what components of a checklist contribute to effective detection of medication errors at the bedside.
High-fidelity simulation study of outpatient chemotherapy administration.
Nurses from an outpatient chemotherapy unit, who used two different checklists to identify four categories of medication administration errors.
Main outcome measures
Rates of specified types of errors related to medication administration.
As few as 0% and as many as 90% of each type of error were detected. Error detection varied as a function of error type and checklist used. Specific step-by-step instructions were more effective than abstract general reminders in helping nurses to detect errors. Adding a specific instruction to check the patient's identification improved error detection in this category by 65 percentage points. Matching the sequence of items on the checklist with nurses' workflow had a positive impact on the ease of use and efficiency of the checklist.
Checklists designed with explicit step-by-step instructions are useful for detecting specific errors when a care provider is required to perform a long series of mechanistic tasks under a high cognitive load. Further research is needed to determine how best to assist clinicians in switching between mechanistic tasks and abstract clinical problem solving.
Medication error; medication safety; checklist; double check; error detection
Teams of physicians in the hospital collaboratively maintain checklists in informal “signout” documents to help organize, manage, and hand off critical patient-based tasks. We created an application within our commercial EHR that supports basic management of these checklists at two urban, academic medical centers. We collected and analyzed over 400,000 checklist tasks created in the application. We calculated the frequencies of terms and term-combinations (n-grams) in these lists, and compared these data with a previously described clinical task model. Our findings provide evidence for the generalizability of the original clinical task model, and provide the foundation for a more sophisticated physician checklist utility. This could contribute to improved efficiency and safety in patient care.
Most maternal deaths, intrapartum-related stillbirths, and newborn deaths in low income countries are preventable but simple, effective methods for improving safety in institutional births have not been devised. Checklist-based interventions aid management of complex or neglected tasks and have been shown to reduce harm in healthcare. We hypothesized that implementation of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist program, a novel childbirth safety program for institutional births incorporating a 29-item checklist, would increase delivery of essential childbirth practices linked with improved maternal and perinatal health outcomes.
Methods and Findings
A pilot, pre-post-intervention study was conducted in a sub-district level birth center in Karnataka, India between July and December 2010. We prospectively observed health workers that attended to women and newborns during 499 consecutively enrolled birth events and compared these with observed practices during 795 consecutively enrolled birth events after the introduction of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist program. Twenty-nine essential practices that target the major causes of childbirth-related mortality, such as hand hygiene and uterotonic administration, were evaluated. The primary end point was the average rate of successful delivery of essential childbirth practices by health workers. Delivery of essential childbirth-related care practices at each birth event increased from an average of 10 of 29 practices at baseline (95%CI 9.4, 10.1) to an average of 25 of 29 practices afterwards (95%CI 24.6, 25.3; p<0.001). There was significant improvement in the delivery of 28 out of 29 individual practices. No adverse outcomes relating to the intervention occurred. Study limitations are the pre-post design, potential Hawthorne effect, and focus on processes of care versus health outcomes.
Introduction of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist program markedly improved delivery of essential safety practices by health workers. Future study will determine if this program can be implemented at scale and improve health outcomes.
Administering medication to hospitalised infants and children is a complex process at high risk of error. Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is a proactive tool used to analyse risks, identify failures before they happen and prioritise remedial measures. To examine the hazards associated with the process of drug delivery to children, we performed a proactive risk-assessment analysis.
Design and setting
Five multidisciplinary teams, representing different divisions of the paediatric department at Padua University Hospital, were trained to analyse the drug-delivery process, to identify possible causes of failures and their potential effects, to calculate a risk priority number (RPN) for each failure and plan changes in practices.
To identify higher-priority potential failure modes as defined by RPNs and planning changes in clinical practice to reduce the risk of patients harm and improve safety in the process of medication use in children.
In all, 37 higher-priority potential failure modes and 71 associated causes and effects were identified. The highest RPNs related (>48) mainly to errors in calculating drug doses and concentrations. Many of these failure modes were found in all the five units, suggesting the presence of common targets for improvement, particularly in enhancing the safety of prescription and preparation of endovenous drugs. The introductions of new activities in the revised process of administering drugs allowed reducing the high-risk failure modes of 60%.
FMEA is an effective proactive risk-assessment tool useful to aid multidisciplinary groups in understanding a process care and identifying errors that may occur, prioritising remedial interventions and possibly enhancing the safety of drug delivery in children.
Qualitative Research; Pediatrics; Drugs Administration
Objective: To implement a customizable checklist in an interdisciplinary, team-based plastic surgery setting to reduce surgical complications. Methods: We examined the effects on patient outcomes and documentation of a customizable, office-based surgical safety checklist. On the basis of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist, we developed a 28-element, perioperative checklist for use in the office-based surgical setting. The checklist was implemented in an office-based plastic surgery practice with an already high standard of care. We recorded baseline, prechecklist rates for each checklist item and postoperative adverse outcomes via a retrospective chart review of 219 cases. After an education program and 30-day run-in period, a prospective, post–checklist implementation chart review was initiated (n = 184), with outcome data compared to the baseline. Results: The total number of complications per 100 patients decreased from 15.1 to 2.72 after checklist implementation (P < .0001), for an absolute risk reduction of 12.4. The proportion of patients with one or more complications decreased from 11.9% to 2.72% (P = .0006). Site and side marking increased from 69.9% prechecklist to 97.8% (P < .0001). Medical optimization increased from 90.9% to 99.5% (P < .0001). Emergency medical services (EMS) policy confirmation, case-specific equipment availability, anticipation of estimated blood loss, and verbal confirmation of local anesthetic toxicity precautions increased from 0% to 90.0% (P < .0001), 92.4% (P < .0001), 82.1% (P < .0001), and 91.3% (P < .0001), respectively. Assessment of patient satisfaction increased from 57.1% to 90.8% (P < .0001). Conclusions: Implementation of a customizable checklist was associated with a reduction in surgical complications in an office-based plastic surgery practice with an already high standard of care.
Reporting and learning from events linked to patient harm and unsafe conditions is critical to improving patient safety. Programs that engage resident physicians in adverse event reporting can enhance patient safety and simultaneously address all 6 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies. Yet fewer than 60% of physicians know how to report adverse events and near misses, and fewer than 40% know what to report. Our study evaluated the effect of an educational intervention on anesthesiology residents' attitudes, knowledge, and skills related to adverse event reporting and the associated follow-up.
In a prospective study, anesthesiology residents participated in a training program focused on the importance of reporting methods and on reporting adverse events for patient safety. Quarterly adverse event reports were analyzed retrospectively for 2 years before the intervention and prospectively for 7 quarters after the intervention. Residents also completed a survey, before and 1 year after the intervention, that evaluated their attitudes, experience, and knowledge regarding adverse event reporting.
After the intervention, the number of adverse event reports increased from 0 per quarter to almost 30 per quarter. We identified several categories of harm events, near misses, and unsafe conditions, including reports of disruptive providers. Of the harm events associated with invasive procedures, more than half were associated with lack of attending physician supervision. We also observed significant progress in the residents' ability to appropriately file a report, improved attitudes regarding the value of reporting and available emotional support, and a reduction in the perceived impediments to reporting.
An educational intervention increased the number of adverse event reports submitted by anesthesiology residents, improved their attitudes about the importance of reporting, and produced a source for learning opportunities and process improvements in the delivery of anesthesia care.
Disclosing harmful errors to patients is recommended, but appears to be uncommon. Understanding how trainees disclose errors and how those practices evolve during training could help educators design programs to address this gap.
To determine how trainees would disclose medical errors.
A survey of 758 trainees (488 students and 270 residents) in internal medicine at two academic medical centers. Surveys depicted one of two harmful error scenarios that varied by how apparent the error would be to the patient. We measured attitudes and disclosure content using scripted responses.
Trainees reported their intent to disclose the error as “definitely” (43%) “probably” (47%) “only if asked by patient” (9%), and “definitely not” (1%). Trainees were more likely to disclose obvious errors in comparison with ones patients were unlikely to recognize (55% vs. 30%, P<0.01). Respondents varied widely in what information they would disclose. Fifty percent of trainees chose statements explicitly stating an error occurred rather than only an adverse event. Regarding apologies, trainees were split between a general expression of regret (52%) and an explicit apology (46%). Respondents at higher levels of training were less likely to use explicit apologies (Trend P<0.01). Prior disclosure training was associated with increased willingness to disclose errors (OR 1.40, P=0.03).
Trainees may not be prepared to disclose medical errors to patients, and worrisome trends in trainee apology practices were observed across levels of training. Medical educators should intensify efforts to enhance trainees’ skills at meeting patients’ expectations for open disclosure of harmful medical errors.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends routine use of a surgical safety checklist prior to all surgical operations. The aim of this study was to prospectively audit checklist use in orthopaedic patients before and after implementation of an educational programme designed to increase use and correlate this with early complications, mortality and staff perceptions. Data was collected on 480 patients before the educational program and 485 patients after. Pre-training checklist use was 7.9%. The rates of early complications and mortality were 8.5% and 1.9%, respectively. Forty-seven percent thought the checklist improved team communication. Following an educational program, checklist use significantly increased to 96.9% (RR12.2; 95% CI 9.0–16.6). The rate of early complications and mortality was 7.6% (RR 0.89; 95% CI 0.58–1.37) and 1.6% (RR 0.88; 95% CI 0.34–2.26), respectively. Seventy-seven percent thought the checklist improved team communication. Checklist use was not associated with a significant reduction in early complications and mortality in patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery. Education programs can significantly increase accurate use and staff perceptions following implementation.