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Influences of Physical Layout and Space on Patient Safety and Communication in Ambulatory Oncology Practices: A Multisite, Mixed Method Investigation.

Fauer A, Wright N, Lafferty M, Harrod M, Manojlovich M, Friese CR. Influences of Physical Layout and Space on Patient Safety and Communication in Ambulatory Oncology Practices: A Multisite, Mixed Method Investigation. HERD. 2021 Oct 1; 14(4):270-286.

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OBJECTIVE: To examine how physical layouts and space in ambulatory oncology practices influence patient safety and clinician communication. BACKGROUND: Ambulatory oncology practices face unique challenges in delivering safe care. With increasing patient volumes, these settings require additional attention to support patient safety and efficient clinical work processes. METHODS: This study used a mixed methods design with sequential data collection. Eight ambulatory oncology practices (of 29 participating practices) participated in both the quantitative and qualitative phases. In surveys, clinicians ( = 56) reported on safety organizing and communication satisfaction measures. Qualitative data included observations and semistructured interviews ( = 46) with insight into how physical layout influenced care delivery. Quantitative analysis of survey data included descriptive and correlational statistics. Qualitative analysis used inductive and thematic content analysis. Quantitative and qualitative data were integrated using side-by-side comparison tables for thematic analysis. RESULTS: Safety organizing performance was positively correlated with clinician communication satisfaction, (54 ) = .414, = .002. Qualitative analyses affirmed that the physical layout affected communication around chemotherapy infusion and ultimately patient safety. After data integration, safety organizing and clinician communication were represented by two themes: visibility of patients during infusion and the proximity of clinicians in the infusion center to clinicians in the clinic where providers see patients. CONCLUSIONS: Physical layouts of ambulatory oncology practices are an important factor to promote patient safety. Our findings inform efforts to construct new and modify existing infusion centers to enhance patient safety and clinician communication.

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