“For busy EDs, the volume of patients and the time pressures we have to see and care for patients is one of the biggest pressures we face,” she said. “Interruptions to work have been cited as safety issues as well, and adding another interruption to the shift could be seen as a barrier to enlist physicians in the process. Additionally, across the United States, we have a very large number of rural hospitals that have single-coverage—meaning there isn’t anyone else there to talk to about your patients.”
“In facilities that don’t have a systematic process like this, using formal or informal mentoring systems and building a culture of safety and trust among colleagues could be beneficial in harm reduction,” said Dr. Walker, who was not involved in the new study. “For those physicians on shift alone, building a network to find a ‘curbside consult’ of a colleague could make a difference in a patient’s course.”
Dr. Hanni Stoklosa, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told Reuters Health by email, “Time is a very precious commodity in the emergency department and is the greatest barrier to implementing a physician-to-physician cross-check system like this. Why not an interdisciplinary cross-check instead?”
“In my own clinical practice, I find that regularly huddling with my nurses about a patient’s plan increases both efficiency and safety,” she said. “My ED nursing colleagues, because of the relationship they build with patients and the time they spend in the patient room, add so much rich information to my clinical evaluation and have, on many occasions, helped steered me away from medical errors.”
“Two pairs of eyes are always better than one,” said Dr. Stoklosa, who also was not part of the new study.
Dr. Freund did not respond to a request for comments.