Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon

I've been "chasing the clouds away" here in stormy Atlanta. But there are interesting things to report from other venues, too.

First, Grand Rounds, the weekly blogging carnival is celebrating its 6th anniversary at Residency Notes. Colin Son, a first year surgical resident, is surely one of the busiest people on earth. But he's making time to continue blogging and lending support to Grand Rounds. (Maybe this is a positive outcome of taming residents' work hours?) In any event, Colin featured the list of 25 Patient Safety Tweeps today, a nice indication that "patient safety" is hitting the radar screens of young professionals.

Residencies and patient safety were in evidence in other ways this week. I picked this up in Twitter feed:

@alinahsu: U of IL: residents must report 5 unsafe conds or near misses per year in order to move on. #ahrq09

(If you're learning how to "read" tweets, this message means that someone named @alinahsu believes that at the University of Illinois, residents must report unsafe conditions and near misses as a condition of satisfactory performance and to advance during their residency years.)

I wouldn't take the contents of any one tweet to the bank, but this one is a nice indicator of positive change in healthcare's reporting culture, coming from a field reporter. Social media (things like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook) are emerging as barometers of safety culture: Busy clinicians won't write a paper about things that please or annoy them, but they will drop a line or two. Here's an on-the-fly assessment about a usability issue, this one running at the top of a blog:

"Whatever the VA paid for these tablet computers that we use to consent patients, well it was too much. These things suck." — txmed

I spent a few hours this morning at Mercer University's School of Pharmacy, talking to 2nd and 3rd year students about culture and communication and how these things affect medication safety. And I'll take the online "thank you" from a pharmacy student with a newly minted Twitter account (@preventionjunky) as another positive sign that young professionals in the pipeline are going to be the tipping point in patient safety.

Finally, I had fun hosting "Bob the Nurse," the nurse action figure with too much time on his hands. Click on over to one of Keith Carlson's blogs to see how Bob Improves Drug Safety. I'm still laughing about his Zilactin walking stick.

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