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Latent safety threat identification during in situ simulation debriefing: a qualitative analysis


Background Latent safety threats (LSTs) in healthcare are hazards or conditions that risk patient safety but are not readily apparent without system stress. In situ simulation (ISS), followed by post-scenario debriefing is a common method to identify LSTs within the clinical environment. The function of post-ISS debriefing for LST identification is not well understood.

Objectives This study aims to qualitatively characterise the types of LSTs identified during ISS debriefing.

Methods We conducted 12 ISS trauma scenarios followed by debriefing at a Canadian, Level 1 trauma centre. We designed the scenarios and debriefing for 15 and 20 min, respectively. Debriefings focused on LST identification, and each session was audio recorded and transcribed. We used an inductive approach with qualitative content analysis to code text data into an initial coding tree. We generated refined topics from the coded text data.

Results We identified five major topics: (1) communication and teamwork challenges, (2) system-level issues, (3) resource constraints, (4) positive team performance and (5) potential improvements to the current systems and processes.

Conclusions During simulation debriefing sessions for LST identification, participants discussed threats related to communication and interpersonal issues. Safety issues relating to equipment, processes and the physical space received less emphasis. These findings may guide health system leaders and simulation experts better understanding of the strengths and limitations of simulation debriefing for LST identification. Further studies are required to compare ISS-based LST identification techniques.

  • Simulation
  • Debriefing
  • Qualitative Research
  • Patient Safety

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