Patient safety research gets funding

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The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) has awarded $200,000 in grants to researchers for projects studying rapid response team (RRT) care and patient handoffs.

The NPSF Board Research Grant has been awarded to James Gray, MD, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, for his project, “Trigger Events as a Burst-like Phenomena: Understanding the Role of Care Team Structure and Designing Solutions.”

Gray’s project will study the transmissible nature of patient events requiring intervention by a RRT, a multidisciplinary medical team that provides critical care to patients who experience sudden clinical deterioration.

The investigator’s previous work on RRTs suggests that the occurrence of an RRT event appears to influence or predict the risk of future deterioration in other patients. Using a large dataset (more than 100,000 admissions), Gray and his team will explore whether an individual patient’s risk of decline is affected by the complex set of connections that exist between patients, their care and the teams providing that care, the NPSF stated.

The NPSF Board Research Grant is supported in part by contributions from NPSF Board members, according to the foundation.

The Hospira Research Grant has been awarded to Emily Patterson, PhD, of Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, for her study, “Patient Handoffs: the Impact of a Fresh Perspective on Patient Mortality in Critical Care Settings.”

Patterson’s project will use targeted ethnographic observations in two intensive care units to explore multiple questions related to changes in diagnoses after handoffs; strategies employed by staff during handoffs to increase patient safety; and team members’ willingness to speak up about safety concerns. This two-year study also aims to develop training materials related to patient handoffs. The grant is funded by Hospira.

The two grant recipients were selected from 125 submissions reviewed by an independent committee of 11 healthcare experts. The grants are awarded through the NPSF Research Grants Program, which promotes studies leading to the prevention of human errors, system errors, patient injuries and their consequences.