FDA: Automatic external defibrillator electrode recalled

Leonhard Lang’s 50028 defibrillation electrode SKINTACT DF29N is being recalled due to a connector compatibility issue with its Welch Allyn AED model 10. The company says users may not be able to connect the electrodes to the defibrillator when a shock is needed. This may result in a delay in delivering the electrical therapy needed to revive a patient in cardiac arrest, which could result in serious patient injury and/or death.

The product was manufactured and distributed from February 2014 to August 2016. On Sept.1, Leonhard Lang sent a safety notice letter to all affected customers that outlined recommended steps users should take to ensure patient safety. 

Design researcher studies how patient room layout supports safety

Debajyoti Pati, a professor of environmental design at Texas Tech University’s College of Human Sciences, recently was awarded a $98,619 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ), one of the funding agencies under the Department of Health & Human Services.

"This grant will focus on prioritizing the previously identified physical design interventions so hospitals and long-term care facilities can optimize available capital funds in incorporating physical design solutions to reduce falls," Pati says.

It follows a grant from the National Patient Safety Foundation that allowed him to identify physical design elements that contribute to patient falls.

"Based on AHRQ's long-standing commitment to improving patient safety, we know several factors are important to keep patients safe," says Kerm Henriksen, senior adviser for human factors and patient safety at AHRQ. "Texas Tech and Dr. Pati's work should further expand our understanding of risks in the physical environment and suggest strategies to address those risks and make care safer."

In his previous studies, Pati found that falls among elderly people typically happened during four types of postures while interacting with their physical environments: pushing, pulling, turning and grabbing. Design elements associated with these postures include bathroom configuration, bathroom door, toilet seat and grab bars, the toilet flush handle, obstructions along the path to the bathroom and IV pole design, among others.

OSHA releases updated recommended practices for workplace safety and health programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a set of Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs to help employers establish a methodical approach to improving safety and health in their workplaces.

The recommendations include seven core elements for a safety and health program: management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training; program evaluation and improvement; and communication and coordination for host employers, contractors and staffing agencies.

The recommendations update OSHA's 1989 guidelines to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. OSHA states that the programs are not prescriptive, but are built around a core set of business processes that can be implemented to suit a particular workplace in any industry. OSHA officials have seen them successfully implemented in manufacturing, construction, health care, technology, retail, services, higher education and government.

HHS issues final rule to enhance safety of health information technology

The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a final rule that emphasizes the importance of protecting public health and safety while also strengthening transparency and accountability in the ONC Health IT Certification Program.

The final rule focuses on three key areas: direct review, consistent authorization and oversight, and increased transparency and accountability.

“More transparency and accountability in health IT is good for consumers, physicians and hospitals,” says Vindell Washington, M.D., MHCM, national coordinator for health IT. “Today’s final rule strengthens the program by ensuring that certified health IT helps clinicians and individuals use and exchange electronic health information safely and reliably.” 

CMS works to improve access to care in rural areas

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) convened a Rural Health Solutions Summit during which agency leaders and health care stakeholders discussed ways to improve access to care in rural America and support innovation in health care delivery. Participants included Karen DeSalvo, M.D., acting assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health & Human Services, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and other agency leaders, who updated participants on the work of CMS’s Rural Health Council and other divisions to address issues facing rural hospitals and care providers.

CMS also facilitated conversations on maintaining access to essential health services, enhancing innovation in rural health care delivery and modernizing telemedicine. The agency plans to conduct regional listening sessions in the coming months. 

CDC identifies new strain of Legionella

Undergraduate students at Clemson (S.C.) University assisted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in identifying a novel strain of Legionella bacteria. According to the CDC, Legionella clemsonensis originally was isolated from a patient in Ohio. Preliminary analysis showed that it was not L. pneumophila, the most commonly identified pathogen in the group, and that it didn’t fall into any known grouping.

The CDC gave recognition to the students by naming the strain L. clemsonesis.