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Qual Saf Health Care. 2007 Dec;16(6):422-7.

Educational quality improvement report: outcomes from a revised morbidity and mortality format that emphasised patient safety.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Missouri Health Care, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, USA



Although morbidity and mortality conferences (MMCs) are meant to promote quality care through careful analysis of adverse events, focus on individual actions or the fear of incrimination may interfere with identification of system issues contributing to the adverse outcomes.


Participant attitudes before and after the intervention towards patient safety and conference redesign were assessed using an attitudinal survey. A list of contributing factors, recommended solutions and targeted system improvements was maintained with ongoing progress recorded.


Department of Internal Medicine training programme at University of Missouri-Columbia.


Residents and fellows from the above residency programme.


(1) Distinguish between culture of blame/shame and patient safety culture, (2) identify gaps in quality contributing to adverse outcomes (3) identify strategies to close gaps and (4) participate in root cause analysis, demonstrating an ability to review an adverse event and recommend an action plan.


An interdisciplinary team modified the internal medicine MMC to emphasise a better understanding of patient safety principles and system-based practice interventions. For each adverse event analysed, root causes were identified, followed by discussion of system interventions that might prevent future such events.


(1) Attitudes of residents and fellows regarding patient safety, as measured on a 20-item, five-point ordinal scale survey, (2) system improvements generated from the patient safety MMC (PSMMC) and (3) attendance at PSMMC.


Clinical outcomes: 121 system improvement recommendations were made and 39 were pursued on the basis of likelihood of achieving high impact changes. 23 improvements were implemented, 11 were partially implemented or in progress, and 5 were abandoned due to impracticality or redundancy. Educational outcomes: 58 residents and fellows completed surveys before and after modification of conference format. 6/20 survey items showed substantial change with four of these changes occurring in the desired direction. Eleven of the remaining 14 responses changed in the desired direction. Average MMC attendance increased from 41+/-8 to 50+/-10 participants (p<0.03).


The new PSMMC initiated multiple improvements in the quality of patient care without sacrificing attendance or attitudes of the residents or fellows. The new PSMMC promotes opportunities for participants to improve quality of patient care in a safe and nurturing environment.

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