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Redesigning a Morbidity and Mortality Program in a University-Affiliated Pediatric Anesthesia Department

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Background: The concept of the morbidity and mortality (M&M) review is almost 100 years old, yet no standards describe “good practice” of M&M in clinical departments. Few reports measure output and impact of M&M reviews. The M&M activities were developed in a university-affiliated pediatric anesthesia department as part of a departmental quality improvement (QI) initiative. The process was designed to identify problems within the M&M program and to introduce interventions and actions to increase the program's efficiency and impact.

Methods: Through a series of interviews and consultation with hospital management, existing problems and inefficiencies were identified, a framework for developing the M&M program was established, and reportable outcome measures, such as increased meeting attendance, participation, self-reporting, and change to practice, were developed. Through appointment of specific M&M personnel, appointment of a specific departmental M&M coordinator, meeting more regularly, stressing the review of system errors and close calls, and encouraging anonymous reporting, the department's M&M activities were redesigned.

Results: From the (July 1) 2001–(June 30) 2006 to (July 1) 2006–(June 30) 2009 periods, case reviews and case presentations increased from a mean of 1.9 to 3.4 cases presented per M&M meeting. Meeting attendance increased from a mean of 5.1 to 25, and self-reporting from a mean of 22% of all safety reports received to 40%. Findings and recommendations were effectively disseminated throughout the department and hospital, reflecting the unique structure of the M&M program and personnel's efforts.

Discussion: M&M QI with respect to data gathering, case review, and ongoing medical education is an efficient way to demonstrate quality assurance and creative professional development.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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