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Committee Opinion Number 683, January 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 508, October 2011)

ABSTRACT: A key element of an organizational safety culture is maintaining an environment of professionalism that encourages communication and promotes high-quality care. Behavior that undermines a culture of safety, including disruptive or intimidating behavior, has a negative effect on the quality and safety of patient care. Intimidating behavior and disruptive behavior are unprofessional and should not be tolerated. Confronting disruptive individuals is difficult. Co-workers often are reluctant to report disruptive behavior because of fear of retaliation and the stigma associated with “bl...


Committee Opinion Number 681, December 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 520, March 2012)

ABSTRACT: Adverse outcomes, preventable or otherwise, are a reality of medical care. Most importantly, adverse events affect patients, but they also affect health care practitioners. Disclosing information about adverse events has benefits for the patient and the physician and, ideally, strengthens the patient–physician relationship and promotes trust. Studies show that after an adverse outcome, patients expect and want timely and full disclosure of the event, an acknowledgment of responsibility, an understanding of what happened, expressions of sympathy, and a discussion of what is being don...


Committee Opinion Number 680, November 2016

ABSTRACT: Checklists are used in medical and nonmedical settings as cognitive aids to ensure that users complete all the items associated with a particular task. They are ideal for tasks with many steps, for tasks performed under stressful circumstances, or for reminding people to perform tasks that they are not routinely accustomed to doing. In medicine, they are ideal for promoting standardized processes of care in situations in which variation in practice may increase patient risk and the chance of medical errors. Checklists also can be used to enhance teamwork and communication. It is a g...


Committee Opinion Number 676, October 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 585, February 2014)

ABSTRACT: Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. Multiple factors affect a patient’s understanding of health information, including cultural factors, a physician’s health knowledge and communication skills, the demands of the situation, the environment in which the health information is being conveyed, and time constraints. The responsibility for recognizing and addressing the problem of limited health literacy lies with all enti...


Committee Opinion Number 674, September 2016

ABSTRACT: New or emerging surgical procedures and technologies continue to be developed at a rapid rate and must be implemented safely into clinical practice. Additional privileging may be required if substantively new technical or cognitive skills are required to implement an innovative procedure or technology. Guiding principles for privileging should include cognitive and technical assessment to ensure appropriate patient selection and performance of the new procedure. Implementation also should include pertinent institutional and staff support as needed. A dynamic process for assessment a...


Committee Opinion Number 657, February 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 459, July 2010)

ABSTRACT: The term “hospitalist” refers to physicians whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Their activities may include patient care, teaching, research, and inpatient leadership. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the continued development and study of the obstetric and gynecologic (ob-gyn) hospitalist model as one potential approach to improve patient safety and professional satisfaction across delivery settings. Effective patient handoffs, updates on progress, and clear follow-up instructions between ob-gyn hos...


Committee Opinion Number 639, September 2015

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Information from vital records is critical to identify and quantify health-related issues and to measure progress toward quality improvement and public health goals. In particular, maternal and infant mortality serve as important indicators of the nation’s health, thereby influencing policy development, funding of programs and research, and measures of health care quality. Accurate and timely documentation of births and deaths is essential to high-quality vital statistics. This Committee Opinion describes the process by which births, maternal deaths, and fetal deaths are registered;...


Committee Opinion Number 629, April 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion 526, May 2012)

ABSTRACT: Protocols and checklists have been shown to reduce patient harm through improved standardization and communication. Implementation of protocols and guidelines often is delayed because of lack of health care provider awareness or difficult clinical algorithms in medical institutions. However, the use of checklists and protocols clearly has been demonstrated to improve outcomes and their use is strongly encouraged. Checklists and protocols should be incorporated into systems as a way to help practitioners provide the best evidence-based care to their patients.


Committee Opinion Number 622, February 2015

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Digital and social media quickly are becoming universal in modern medical practice. Data sharing, online reviews and ratings, and digital privacy concerns likely will become a part of most every physician’s practice, regardless of his or her use of social media. The widespread use of social media in the United States brings unprecedented connectivity that opens new horizons for physicians, ranging from interactions with patients, to communication with peers and the public, to novel approaches to research.


Committee Opinion Number 621, January 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 472, November 2010)

ABSTRACT: The advantages of health information technology (IT) include facilitating communication between health care providers; improving medication safety, tracking, and reporting; and promoting quality of care through optimized access to and adherence to guidelines. Health IT systems permit the collection of data for use for quality management, outcome reporting, and public health disease surveillance and reporting. However, improvement is needed with all health IT, especially regarding design, implementation, and integration between platforms within the work environment. Robust interopera...


Committee Opinion Number 590, March 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 487, April 2011)

ABSTRACT: Patient care emergencies may occur at any time in any setting, particularly the inpatient setting. It is important that obstetrician–gynecologists prepare themselves by assessing potential emergencies, establishing early warning systems, designating specialized first responders, conducting emergency drills, and debriefing staff after actual events to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. Having such systems in place may reduce or prevent the severity of medical emergencies.


Committee Opinion Number 587, February 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 492, May 2011)

ABSTRACT: Physicians’ ability to effectively and compassionately communicate information is key to a successful patient–physician relationship. The current health care environment demands increasing clinical productivity and affords less time with each patient, which can impede effective patient–physician communication. The use of patient-centered interviewing, caring communication skills, and shared decision making improves patient–physician communication. Involving advanced practice nurses or physician assistants may improve the patient’s experience and understanding of her visit. Electroni...


Committee Opinion Number 555, March 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Numerous occurrences in the past decade have brought the issue of disaster preparedness, and specifically hospital preparedness, to the national forefront. Much of the work in this area has focused on large hospital system preparedness for various disaster scenarios. Many unique features of the obstetric population warrant additional consideration in order to optimize the care received by expectant mothers and their fetuses or newborns in the face of future natural or biologic disasters.


14.
December 2012

Committee Opinion Number 546, December 2012

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces No. 461, August 2010)

ABSTRACT: An accurate and effective tracking or reminder system is useful for the modern practice of obstetrics and gynecology. Practices should not rely solely on the patient to complete all ordered studies and to follow up on health care provider recommendations. Health care providers should encourage their patients to complete studies believed essential for patient care within an acceptable time frame. Each office should establish a simple, reliable tracking and reminder system to facilitate communication, improve patient safety and quality of care, and minimize missed or delayed diagnoses.


Committee Opinion Number 519, March 2012

(Reaffirmed 2013, Replaces No. 398, February 2008)

ABSTRACT: It has long been recognized that fatigue can affect human cognitive and physical function. Although there are limited published data on the effects of fatigue on health care providers, including full-time practicing physicians, there is increasing awareness within the patient safety movement that fatigue, even partial sleep deprivation, impairs performance.


Committee Opinion Number 490, May 2011

(Reaffirmed 2013, Replaces No. 320, November 2005)

Abstract: Actively involving patients in the planning of health services is recommended as a means of improving the quality of care. This can increase patient engagement and reduce risk resulting in improved outcomes, satisfaction, and treatment adherence.


Committee Opinion Number 480, March 2011

Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Empathy is the process through which one attempts to project oneself into another's life and imagine a situation from his or her point of view. Most individuals do have an innate capacity to show empathy toward others. Empathy is as important to being a good physician as technical competence. However, at times the health care environment and educational process overly emphasize technological competence, curing disease rather than healing the patient, or the economic aspects of medicine. This may interfere with an empathic approach in the clinical setting. In this Committee Opinion, ...


Committee Opinion Number 464, September 2010

(Replaces No. 328, February 2006, Reaffirmed 2014)

ABSTRACT: Ensuring patient safety in the operating room begins before the patient enters the operative suite and includes attention to all applicable types of preventable medical errors (including, for example, medication errors), but surgical errors are unique to this environment. Steps to prevent wrong-site, wrong-person, wrong-procedure errors, or retained foreign objects have been recommended, starting with structured communication between the patient, the surgeon(s), and other members of the health care team. Prevention of surgical errors requires the attention of all personnel involved ...


Committee Opinion Number 447, December 2009

(Reaffirmed 2015, Replaces No. 286, October 2003)

ABSTRACT: Since publication of the Institute of Medicine's landmark report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, emphasis on patient safety has steadily increased. Obstetrician–gynecologists should continuously incorporate elements of patient safety into their practices and also encourage others to use these practices.


20.
August 2009

Committee Opinion Number 439, August 2009

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Obtaining informed consent for medical treatment, for participation in medical research, and for participation in teaching exercises involving students and residents is an ethical requirement that is partially reflected in legal doctrines and requirements. As an ethical doctrine, informed consent is a process of communication whereby a patient is enabled to make an informed and voluntary decision about accepting or declining medical care. In this Committee Opinion, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Ethics describes the history, ethical basis, and ...


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