Patient Safety

Atrial Fibrillation Resources from the North American Thrombosis Forum

In this guest article about atrial fibrillation resources from the North American Thrombosis Forum (NATF), Molly Gately, who is the Assistant Director of Content Development for the NATF, provides very useful links to materials that both clinicians and patients will find useful in better understanding atrial fibrillation.

By Molly Gately (Assistant Director of Content Development, North American Thrombosis Forum)

Atrial fibrillation is a life-altering condition that affects at least 2.3 million adults in the United States. It greatly increases a patient’s risk for developing ischemic stroke, and it is imperative that these patients get the medical therapy they require. The North American Thrombosis Forum has designed resources for both healthcare providers and patients to help them understand the risks, treatments, and management of atrial fibrillation.

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Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Opioids Can Kill People in the Hospital Too

In an article for DoctorWeighsIn, Michael Wong, JD, discusses why opioids don’t just cause harm on the “street”. Opioids can kill people in hospital too!

Much of the public attention on the opioid-epidemic has been focused on the harm caused by prescription use and abuse of opioids. However, there is another facet that must be focused on: opioid-induced respiratory depression in clinical settings.

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Opioid Safety

Detection of Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression Through Continuous Electronic Monitoring ATS Conference "where today’s science meets tomorrow’s care"

The theme of this year’s American Thoracic Society annual conference was “where today’s science meets tomorrow’s care.” In keeping with that theme, we would like to highlight one poster on detection of opioid-induced respiratory depression through continuous electronic monitoring. To view a copy of the poster, please go to the ATS website or see an image of the poster below.

“Measuring vital signs every four hours is an outdated and dangerous practice. Patients on our hospital wards deserve continuous vital sign monitoring so they are not found ‘dead in bed,’” said Dr. Frank Overdyk, a Charleston-based anesthesiologist and expert on respiratory compromise. Dr. Overdyk is also a member of our board of advisors.

The study analyzed 6,590 hospitalization days and detected 91 events of respiratory depression. The positive predictive value of 70% of events were classified as respiratory depression or sleep apnea related. Additionally, the study indicated a very low false alarm rate – less than one in 5,000 hours of monitoring, translating to just one false alarm every seven months The study also covered a range of care units and highlighted the variance in incidence rate. Long term care units had the lowest incidence rate of respiratory depression, while post-op units had the highest. Please see an image of the poster presented at the ATS conference:

Detection of Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression Through Continuous Electronic Monitoring

Detection of Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression Through Continuous Electronic Monitoring

“One of the key complications resulting from opioid use in hospitalized patients is respiratory distress that can lead to ICU transfers and sadly, even death. Moreover, respiratory depression is a key risk factor across the healthcare continuum, from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities,” explained Michael Wong, JD, Executive Director of The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS). “For this reason, all patients receiving opioids should be continuously electronically monitored, to help provide early detection of the risk of respiratory depression and enable timely intervention.”


Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

Five Steps to Managing Concussions in Youth Sports

In this guest article, Dr. Steve Horwitz provides 5 steps that should be taken to manage concussions in youth sports.

By Dr. Steve Horwitz

Concussions and CTE. These have been the two buzz words in the sports headlines for the last few years. We read and see how concussions are managed in professional sports (recent World Cup) and the recent examples of this management are disconcerting. The NFL and NHL lawsuits continue and the more we learn, the uglier it gets. What is the influence of professional sports on the decisions made by youth athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators?

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Respiratory Compromise

Early Detection and Treatment of Sepsis Saves Lives!

On September 5th and 6th, the Global Sepsis Alliance, initiator of World Sepsis Day and World Sepsis Congress, will host the 2nd World Sepsis Congress. The 2nd WSC is a free online congress in which over 100 renowned experts from all around the world will give presentations on all aspects of sepsis. The congress will be held in English and is open to everyone with an internet connection.

For more information on program, speakers, time zones, and to register for free, please visit

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Patient Safety

Why Healthcare Providers and PSOs Need to Work Together to Improve Patient Safety and Data Breaches

In this guest article, Meghann Chilcott discusses why healthcare providers need to work with PSOs in order to improve patient safety and reduce data breaches

By Meghann Chilcott (Information Technology and Services)

It’s only summer, and it’s already been an awful year for data security in the American healthcare sector. In April, a ransomware attack could have compromised the data of 85,000 patients at three orthopedic hospitals in California. Then, in June, a healthcare billing claims vendor experienced a cyber attack that may have breached the records of 270,000 patients. These incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. Between 2009 and 2017, 2,181 healthcare data breaches impacted more than 50 percent of the population of the United States.

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Patient Safety

How to Select the Best Patient Monitoring Systems

We are often asked how to select the best patient monitoring systems.

To help with the decision making process, we offer two resources:

  • In a clinical education podcast, “Selecting Patient Monitoring Systems,” Melissa Powell (Chief Operating Officer, The Allure Group); Priyanka Shah (Project Engineer, ECRI Institute); and Charlie Whelan (Director of Consulting, Transformational Health, Frost & Sullivan) provide their guidance on how to select the best patient monitoring systems to meet your clinical needs.
  • The Guide to Patient Monitoring features these manufacturers’ answers about their patient monitoring systems:
    • Becton Dickinson
    • EarlySense
    • GE Healthcare
    • Masimo
    • Medtronic – we recently added their answers, so please check it out and tell us what you think!
    • Philips
    • Respiratory Motion
    • Sotera Wireless

To view manufacturer answers, please click here.

If there is a question you’d like answered or a manufacturer that has not been included, please let us know!


Opioid Safety, Patient Safety

8 Signs You May Have an Opioid Addiction

Freelance writer and in recovery himself, Peter Lang discusses 8 signs that you may have an opioid addiction. To learn more and get help, please visit The Recovery Village.

Opiate addiction is a crisis in America. The proportion of the abusers of pain medication is not just alarming; it has reached critical levels. According to research, about one in every four opioid prescriptions ends up in the hands of abusers. About 35,000 people die every year from this menace. Further studies show that at least 12.5 million people abused opioids in 2015 alone. These pain-relieving medications include methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine. Some are legal, while others are not.

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Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Patient Monitoring Guide Features Manufacturers’ Answers on Their Monitoring Solutions Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety Celebrates 7th Anniversary by Releasing Patient Monitoring Guide

On the 7th anniversary of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS), PPAHS is pleased to release the Patient Monitoring Guide.

Since its first blog post 7 years ago, Michael Wong, JD (Founder and Executive Director, PPAHS) says PPAHS has advocated for continuous electronic monitoring of all patients receiving opioids. Mr. Wong explained that the primary motivation behind the Patient Monitoring Guide is to help answer questions posed by clinicians, hospital executives and risk managers about patient monitoring systems and to help them make decisions on which patient monitoring system best suits their clinical needs:

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Must Reads, Patient Safety

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety Articles PPAHS have been reading the week of July 9, 2018

Articles the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) have been reading the week of July 16, 2018 suggest ideas to improve patient safety.

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Requiring Patients to Comply to Conduct Rules to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) is now requiring patients admitted for medical treatments of drug-use-related infections to comply with new conduct rules. Dr. Jerry Epps, UTMC’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, explains:

“This is done first and foremost for patient safety. When patients are bringing in needles and drugs, and their friends are coming in with drugs, and they can shoot up in the bathroom and maybe kill themselves, I argue we’re doing our best to protect patients and team members from this dreadful problem.”

Good Idea for #Opioidepidemic? - Require Patients to Comply to Conduct Rules Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Encourage COPD Patients to Regularly Exercise

Researchers at the University of Lincoln and the University of Oxford have found:

“Pulmonary rehabilitation — a patient-tailored approach combining exercise, education, and behavioral changes — can improve physical capacity, reduce shortness of breath, and enhance the quality of life of COPD patients.”

Arwel Jones, PhD, research fellow at the Lincoln Institute for Health in the U.K., who is the senior author of the study, discusses the difficulty that such a recommendation may be for COPD patients:

“Being physically active is extremely important for people with COPD, however, people with the disease find it difficult to remain physically active once they have finished pulmonary rehabilitation.”

Encourage #COPD Patients to Regularly Exercise Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Utilize Capnography to Monitoring Patients Under Conscious Sedation

Referring to the clinical education podcast, “Capnography Monitoring During Conscious Sedation: A Must for Maintaining “Eyes and Ears,” Melicent Lavers-Sailly writes about the value of monitoring with capnography:

“Capnography, the measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) in respiratory gases, has long been used to monitor the breathing of patients under anesthesia in the operating room. Now there is a growing recognition of its value as a reliable tool for monitoring patients under conscious sedation in ambulatory settings outside the OR.”

Utilize Capnography to Monitoring Patients Under Conscious Sedation Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Use Data to Help Make Better Healthcare Decisions & Treatment Choices

In the article, “The benefits of leveraging data and analytics in EMS,” Dr. Brent Myers makes the case for using date to help make better healthcare decisions and treatment choices. Rather than make decisions “either guessing or using their gut,” Dr. Myers encourages “leveraging data to make smarter decisions.”

He provides two examples where data has helped make smarter decisions:

“For example, stroke assessment and care have changed since the beginning of 2018, dramatically. This can’t be emphasized enough as the entire industry is still processing this information. Two recent studies – the DAWN Trial and the DEFUSE-3 Study – highlight findings that provide new guidelines for stroke patient assessment and transport. Specifically, these studies indicate the benefit of extending the treatment window to 16 or even 24 hours after the onset of symptoms for a subset of patients with large vessel occlusion acute ischemic stroke (LVO-AIS).

“While the nearest hospital may have been an appropriate destination in the past, the new research indicates transport to the nearest thrombectomy-capable or comprehensive stroke center may be preferred for those with evidence of LVO-AIS, even when it is not the nearest facility.”

Use Data to Help Make Better Healthcare Decisions & Treatment Choices Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Reducing Psychological Distress May Decrease the Risk of COPD and Other Diseases

A research team led by Catharine Gale, PhD, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and at MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, reviewed the clinical records of 16,485 individuals over a three-year period and found that psychological distress may increase the risk of COPD and other diseases:

“The study showed that, compared with people who had no symptoms of psychological distress, those with low levels of distress had a 57% increased chance of having arthritis and those with moderate distress levels had a 72% increased chance. A similar pattern was reported regarding cardiovascular diseases, with low distress levels increasing the risk by 46% and moderate levels by 77%.”

Reducing Psychological Distress May Decrease the Risk of COPD and Other Diseases Click To Tweet