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J Surg Educ. 2012 May-Jun;69(3):326-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2011.11.010. Epub 2012 Jan 14.

Educational value of morbidity and mortality (M&M) conferences: are minor complications important?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.



Often, minor complications are not reported in morbidity and mortality (M&M) conference because they are considered insignificant to patient outcome. As part of an effort to improve the quality of the M&M conference, we sought to integrate a specific, focused intervention to improve the reporting of minor complications and to evaluate the perception of its educational value.


To provide evidence-based training in recognizing, treating, and preventing minor complications, a presentation strategy was created. Surgical faculty identified 20 complications as minor complications. Each month, a junior resident was assigned to give a 10-minute presentation, assessing 1 of the 20 minor complications in depth during the M&M conference. To assess the impact of the intervention, we surveyed residents and faculty about the educational value of M&M conferences before and after implementation.


Before introducing minor complication presentations into the M&M conference, only 58% of respondents indicated that minor complications should be reported at the conference. After the changes were implemented in minor complication reporting, 95% of respondents said that minor complications should be reported (p < 0.01). Eighty-nine percent of respondents found the minor complication presentations to be educationally beneficial. In addition, postsurvey respondents were also more likely than presurvey respondents to identify that a purpose of an M&M conference was to improve patient care (29% vs 71%, p < 0.05).


A formal, evidence-based presentation of minor complications can increase both the faculty and residents' perception of the importance of reporting minor complications at an M&M conference. Focused minor complication reporting should be incorporated into M&M curriculum.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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