Safety incidents in healthcare may be inevitable, especially during a pandemic of highly infectious diseases. However, their frequency can be decreased with a focused study and mitigation strategies. A limited number of studies have been conducted to explore safety incidents during COVID-19. This study is a retrospective analytical and descriptive discussion of the top 4 incident types that affected the safety environment in Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA). The identified areas are staff exposure, care coordination, lab-related issues, and staffing. Safety incident reports were reviewed from January to June 2020 to understand the contributing factors. Results showed that the majority of incidents that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic did not cause significant harm to patients or individuals involved. More than half of the safety incidents reached individuals with infectious disease exposure as the highest number of incidents.
Communication, infectious disease precautions, gaps in practice, and documentation were found to be the highest contributing factors to these incidents. The implemented improvement actions include amended or developed processes and staff education.
This study can be used as a baseline for further exploration of the pandemic's effect on the patient care environment and to improve preparedness and handling of pandemics worldwide.
Keywords: safety incidents, harm, pandemic, healthcare, COVID 19