CDC Issues Summary of Key Zika Considerations for Healthcare Systems

mosquito300The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a summary of Key Zika Considerations that healthcare systems can use in preparation for diagnosing and treating patients who may have contracted the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The document identifies nine factors that facilities need to pay attention to as they develop processes for managing Zika patients. Such factors range from understanding the clinical manifestation of the virus to following appropriate reporting procedures when cases are identified. In addition, the document lists prevention tips, which healthcare providers can use in educating patients and their families about the disease, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and eliminating sources of standing water where mosquitoes are prone to breed.

Anxious patients can also access clinical experts by calling the CDC’s 24-hour Zika hotline at 770.488.7100, or they can pose pregnancy-related Zika questions by emailing

To download, the CDC’s Key Zika Considerations for Healthcare Settings, click here.


Preparedness Month Urges Americans to Plan Now for Possible Emergencies

FEMANPM2016_logo_vFinal.300“Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” will be the returning theme for National Preparedness Month 2016, which kicks off next week.

NPM offers opportunity for individuals and organizations to focus on planning now for emergency situations that could arise in the places where they live, work and visit. This year’s campaign will place an emphasis on preparedness for teens, older adults, and people with disabilities, and each week will carry a specified theme as follows:


•    Week 1 (August 28-September 3): Promote National Preparedness Month
•    Week 2 (September 4-10): Preparing Family and Friends
•    Week 3 (September 11-17): Preparing Through Service
•    Week 4 (September 18-24): Individual Preparedness
•    Week 5 (September 25-30): Lead-up to National PrepareAthon! Day

To learn more about National Preparedness Month and to access a toolkit for use in promoting the initiative via social media, click here.

8 Stories You Need: Specialized Units for Elderly Patients, Growing Impact of Nurse Informatics

mednews-logo.300We know you’re busy, but we don’t want you to miss important healthcare quality and patient safety news. Here’s a roundup of stories you may have missed but need to take a look at before calling it a week. (Sign up on the right if you’d like these news alerts delivered to you.)

  1. Airline cancellations expose latent issues with electronic systems: A doctor’s perspective
    One physician, blogger provides commentary on some of the pitfalls that come with relying on electronic medical record systems. Plan to join his Twitter chat on the topic on September 6. patientsafe 
  2. Elderly Hospital Patients Arrive Sick, Often Leave Disabled
    Learn about the special “ACE” (Acute Care for Elders) units that hospitals, like San Francisco General, are creating in order to provide older patients the intense, specialized care that they need. Kaiser Health News 
  3. The Next Wave of Hospital Innovation to Make Patients Safer
    Four leading patient safety experts use advancements in surgical quality and safety to illustrate what they term the “3 Waves of Innovation in Patient Safety.” Find out why they say the coming third wave will be driven by the strides providers are going to need to make in organizing for highly reliable performance. Harvard Business Review 
  4. Advancing the Role of Nursing, Optimizing Quality Clinical Care
    Consider the impact of the ongoing merger of technology and clinical care as well as the growing influence of nursing informatics. Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare 
  5. From Sweden to Texas via the IHI National Forum: Do-It-Yourself Dialysis
    Read this physician’s story of how he managed to reign in his post-conference enthusiasm, use data to get his colleagues’ attention, and ultimately drive engagement, change, and improvement in his Texas clinic. IHI Blog
  6. Study: EMR analysis tool cuts errors during patient handoffs
    Hospital handoffs present perfect opportunities for important information about patients to get lost in the shuffle. Access new research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, that points to ways clinicians can better utilize technology to improve communication and convey vital intelligence. MedCity New
  7. Medicare’s Readmission Penalties Hit New High
    While the number of hospitals penalized for 30-day readmissions is predicted to contiune to hover around 2,597, which is about half the nation’s hospitals, the average penalty will increase by 20 percent.  Kaiser Health News
  8. Can Automated Prompts Reduce Surgical Site Infections?
    More than 500,000 patients a year contract surgical site infections, but new student-led research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that an inexpensive, common-sense approach, involving the use of automated patient reminders, may help to drastically reduce SSIs.  HealthLeaders Media 

WEBINAR: Assessing Safety Risks Associated with EHRs

CalcSteth.300The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will present a webinar Monday, August 29, from 12:30 – 2p.m. ET, to discuss the safe use of electronic health record systems. More specifically, the program will focus on methods for evaluating the safety of computer provider order entry (CPOE).

Topics of discussion will include recommendations for ways to identify ‘wrong-patient’ errors when ordering medications and tests as well as updates to a CPOE evaluation tool that assesses safety-critical decision support alerts.

Jason Adelman, M.D., Columbia University, and David Classen, M.D., FACMI, University of Utah, will serve as presenters for the program, and Ed Lomotan, M.D., Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement, AHRQ, will preside as moderator.

Participants can earn 1.5 hours of continuing medical education credits or continuing education units. To register or to learn more, click here.


AHRQ Patient Safety Primer Promotes Learning Through Debriefing

debriefing300Debriefing, a key component in healthcare simulation, can be equally as valuable when implemented following real-life emergencies or adverse events. According to a new patient safety primer available on the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s Patient Safety Network, debriefing is defined as a “dialogue between two or more people; its goals are to discuss the actions and thought processes involved in a particular patient care situation, encourage reflection on those actions and thought processes and incorporate improvement into future performance.”

Debriefing helps teams evaluate what went wrong in a given situation as well as what the team did well. Then, the team can use this information to drive improvement at the individual, team and system levels.

To learn more, read AHRQ’s patient safety primer, Learning Through Debriefing, by clicking here.