Background: There is no consensus for the role definition for Patient Safety Officers (PSOs) in healthcare during pandemics or other crises as opposed to their routine activities. This study aimed to examine the contribution of personality traits and systemic factors on the performance of PSOs during the pandemic, and to compare these variables during the first and third waves of the Covid-19 pandemic in Israel. Methods: This cross-sectional study invited 117 PSOs to complete a questionnaire addressing their role during the Covid-19 pandemic. The questionnaire included items concerning: Personal and socio-demographic characteristics; Uncertainty; Personal initiative; Burnout; Professional functioning; Patient Safety and Risk Management policies and practices; Organizational functioning; and Personal Involvement in risk management activities. Qualitative data was collected by two open-ended questions. Results: A total of 78 PSOs (67%) completed the questionnaire. The results revealed that many PSOs reduced their involvement in risk management processes or even left their position temporarily in order to return to their primary specialization as clinicians. Only 51.3% and 57.7% reported practicing risk management in the first and third waves, respectively. The three main factors that kept PSOs functioning were managerial support, mobilization of their team, and the belief in the importance of their position. Conclusions: A crisis generates uncertainty, a plethora of frequent and urgent tasks, and the need to adapt policy to changing circumstances and to the increased risks. The risk manager must be a member of the crisis management team and participate in every important discussion in order to represent essential staff and patient safety issues and ensure that these are fully addressed already in the early stages of planning.
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© 2023, The Israel National Institute for Health.
- Patient Safety Officer
- Patient safety
- Risk management