January/February 2021 Issue of Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control

January/February 2021 Issue of Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control 

ON THE COVER

The evolution of COVID-19: 4 leaders talk symptoms, treatment & clinical trends
As the U.S. enters winter, four clinical leaders reflected on COVID-19 patients, symptoms and clinical trends.

From the COVID-19 front lines: What healthcare workers want their leaders to know
During the pandemic, healthcare workers have been on the front lines providing care to patients with and without the virus. They have shown up ready to work, while navigating changing state and federal guidelines, as well as concerns about getting sick or infecting their loved ones.

Safeguarding nurses' well-being is 'nonnegotiable': 6 leaders on supporting nurses through COVID-19 + beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented health systems with the ultimate balancing act: Care for an influx of patients and ensure nurses and front-line staff are adequately supported, all amid staffing and personal protective equipment shortages.

COVID-19 pandemic 'not necessarily the big one,' top WHO official says
COVID-19 has infected at least 81 million people and killed more than 1.7 million worldwide. While the toll of this pandemic has been severe, it is "not necessarily the big one," a top World Health Organization official warned this week, according to The New York Times.

Clinical priorities and predictions for 2021: 4 CMOs weigh in
Becker's talked to four clinical leaders about priorities, expectations and predictions for the upcoming year.

Staff meal breaks in the COVID-19 era: How 5 systems are limiting infection risks
Meal breaks offer healthcare workers crucial time to eat and reenergize amid a hectic shift. But in the era of COVID-19, meal breaks may also pose an infection risk, as staff members must take their masks or respirators off to eat. Break room or cafeteria space may also be limited, making it difficult for employees to maintain appropriate social distancing.

10 top patient safety issues for 2021
The Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control editorial team chose the following 10 patient safety issues for healthcare leaders to prioritize in 2021, presented below in no particular order, based on news, study findings and trends reported in the past year.

Healthcare-associated infections on rise amid pandemic, experts say
Many infection preventionists said they've seen an uptick in healthcare-associated infections at their facilities since the pandemic's start, according to a Dec. 3 survey from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

5 things we still don't know about COVID-19
Scientists have already learned an extraordinary amount about COVID-19 in the one year since its emergence, but there's still a lot we don't know.

Racial bias in pulse oximeters may put Black patients at risk
Pulse oximeters were more often less reliable in Black patients than white patients, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine Dec.17.

Where are the 29 Leapfrog straight-'A' hospitals?
The Leapfrog Group released its fall 2020 Hospital Safety Grades Dec. 14, assigning "A" through "F" letter grades to more than 2,600 acute care hospitals for patient safety performance.

How Providence will bring remote employees back to the office post-COVID
As COVID-19 spread across the U.S. early this year, hospitals and health systems adjusted their workforce. Many administrative workers who could work from home were instructed to do so, and they have remained remote.

COVID-19 viral load could help physicians predict illness severity
COVID-19 viral loads could be a useful indicator of which patients may need higher levels of care, The New York Times reports.

Beaumont adds 3 physicians to board after negative staff surveys
Southfield, Mich.-based Beaumont Health has added three physicians to its board of directors.

INFECTION CONTROL

Drug-resistant infection spiked at New Jersey hospital amid first COVID-19 surge, CDC finds
Between February and July, 34 patients at a New Jersey hospital acquired carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanni infection or colonization, according to the CDC's Dec. 1 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The bacteria can lead to pneumonia and wound, blood stream and urinary tract infections.

Healthcare-associated infections on rise amid pandemic, experts say
Many infection preventionists said they've seen an uptick in healthcare-associated infections at their facilities since the pandemic's start, according to a Dec. 3 survey from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Babies born via C-section at higher risk for infections, study suggests
Infants born via Cesarean section may be at higher risk of developing infections that require hospitalization, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine.

Michigan hospital employees exposed to COVID-19 told to come to work if asymptomatic
Several Michigan health systems have told employees that if they had close or household contact with someone who has COVID-19, they are still expected to report to work until they get their test results, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Strained Wisconsin hospitals asking staff to return to work during quarantine
Many hospitals in Wisconsin are having workers who were exposed to COVID-19 return to their jobs during their quarantine period due to staffing shortages, said Wisconsin Department of Health Services CMO Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD, during a Dec. 1 media briefing.

PATIENT SAFETY

10 top patient safety issues for 2021
The Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control editorial team chose the following 10 patient safety issues for healthcare leaders to prioritize in 2021, presented below in no particular order, based on news, study findings and trends reported in the past year.

Safety board halts high-dose blood thinner trial for severe COVID-19 patients
A safety board temporarily halted a clinical trial that uses high-dose blood thinners in severe COVID-19 patients due to potential harm, reports The New York Times.

St. Peter's oncologist was removed for harming patients, CEO says
Helena, Mont.-based St. Peter's Health removed longtime oncologist Tom Weiner, MD, after learning that the physician had been harming patients for years, CEO Wade Johnson wrote in a letter to the Independent Record.

7 patient safety goals for 2021 from Joint Commission
The Joint Commission recently shared seven patient safety goals for hospitals to focus on in 2021.

Moderate sleep loss boosts risk of medical errors 53%, study finds
Even moderate levels of sleep deprivation among physicians can cause a significant increase in the risk of medical errors, a study published Dec. 7 in JAMA Network Open found.

PATIENT & CAREGIVER EXPERIENCE

California nurses struggle as nurse-to-patient ratios stretched amid COVID-19 surge
California is currently the only state with a nurse-to-patient ratio law, but a spike in COVID-19 patients led Gov. Gavin Newsom to relax the law earlier this month. Now, nurses are scrambling to care for more patients, reports NPR.

5 ways to engage men in their own health
Men are more likely to experience negative outcomes or complications from a number of procedures and conditions compared to women, creating a large window of opportunity for health systems to improve men's health engagement, according to a Nov. 18 Healthgrades report.

Athletes' rapid COVID-19 testing is a luxury most nurses lack
Most professional and collegiate athletes have access to rapid COVID-19 testing, while some frontline healthcare workers have never been tested during the pandemic, reports The Washington Post.

Hospital workers upset over COVID-19 vaccine distribution
While COVID-19 vaccine rollout has gone smoothly at many healthcare organizations, physicians and nurses at hospitals in Arizona, California, New York and elsewhere say vaccine distribution at their facilities has been chaotic and unfair, according to NPR.

'A quiet growing epidemic': Violence against healthcare workers has persisted for years unresolved
Nurses and healthcare workers have been spotlighted as heroes throughout the pandemic, but they've been susceptible to workplace violence and abuse for years with little done to prevent it, a Dec. 10 investigation from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found.

QUALITY IMPROVEMENT & MEASUREMENT

COVID-19 viral load could help physicians predict illness severity
COVID-19 viral loads could be a useful indicator of which patients may need higher levels of care, The New York Times reports.

Childhood sepsis deadlier for Black patients, study finds
Black children with sepsis are more likely to die than white or Hispanic kids, a study published Dec. 14 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health found.

Hospital alert system identifies at-risk patients, lowers mortality, study finds
Patients who were monitored with a real-time alert system had a 16 percent lower mortality rate compared to patients who were not monitored, according to research published Nov. 11 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Black COVID-19 patients face lower death risk than white patients after hospitalization, study finds
While Black patients were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than white patients at NYU Langone Health this spring, they had a lower risk of death and severe illness after hospitalization, according to a study published Dec. 4 in JAMA Network Open.

New C. diff guidelines a boon to predicting patient death risk, study finds
In 2017, two organizations updated national guidelines for treating and diagnosing Clostridioides difficile infection. New research published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases validates these guideline changes, suggesting they nearly doubled hospitals' ability to predict C. difficile mortality.

CLINICAL LEADERSHIP SPOTLIGHT

Clinical priorities and predictions for 2021: 4 CMOs weigh in
Becker's talked to four clinical leaders about priorities, expectations and predictions for the upcoming year.

Nurses: The most trusted professionals in America
Americans rated nurses as the most honest and ethical professionals for the 19th consecutive year, according to an annual Gallup poll.

Rhode Island hospital to be led by nurse promoted from within for first time
The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., has promoted chief nursing executive Maria Ducharme, DNP, RN, to president.

Memorial Sloan Kettering paid $1.5M severance to CMO forced out over disclosure failures
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has paid more than $1.5 million in severance to its former CMO, who resigned in 2018 after he did not disclose financial ties to healthcare companies in research papers he authored, according to The New York Times.

CMO to leave Georgia hospital after 3 decades
Steven Kitchen, MD, is retiring as CMO of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Ga., hospital officials said.

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