Identifying and managing latent safety threats though a zone-wide emergency department in-situ multidiscipline simulation program: A quality improvement project
Latent safety threats (LSTs) have been defined as system based issues that threaten patient safety that can materialize at any time and were previously unrecognized by healthcare providers, unit directors, or hospital administration. While LSTs such as system deficiencies, equipment failures, training, or conditions predisposing medical errors are frequently reported in the literature, a paucity was noted in the management and mitigation of these threats. The purpose of the translational simulation quality improvement project study was to utilize translational simulations to identify, manage, and mitigate future latent safety threats in our EDs.
In 2017, 18 in-situ inter-professional simulation sessions were conducted at 11 EDs. Following each session, a survey assessment tool, created by the research team, was completed by participants to identify latent safety threats. Findings were shared with site clinical nurse educators and managers to help facilitate institutional follow up. For reporting, latent safety threats were categorized thematically and coded as either (i) resolved, (ii) ongoing, or (iii) not managed. Follow-up with sites was completed 1 year following the simulation.
A total n=158 LSTs were identified. The number and percentage by theme was: staff 48 (30.4%), equipment 41 (25.9%), medications 33 (20.9%), resuscitation resources 24 (15.2%), and information technology (IT) issues 12 (7.6%).Site follow-up identified that 149 LSTs were resolved and ten required ongoing work to manage. No occurrences of a LST ‘not managed’ were identified.
Translation simulation effectively identified latent safety threats and assisted interdisciplinary teams in the creation of a structured plan and systematic follow-up to enhance the health system and patient care. Through use of a threat mitigation strategy all identified threats were addressed while some require ongoing management.
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