To explore possibilities to improve morbidity and mortality conferences using advancing insights in safety science.
Summary background data:
Mortality and Morbidity conferences (M&M) are the golden practice for case-based learning. While learning from complications is useful, M&M does not meet expectations for system-wide improvement. Resilience engineering principles may be used to improve M&M.
After a review of the shortcomings of traditional M&M, resilience engineering principles are explored as a new way to evaluate performance. This led to the development of a new M&M format that also reviews successful outcomes, rather than only complications. This “quality assessment meeting” (QAM) is presented and the first experiences are evaluated using local observations and a survey.
During the QAM teams evaluate all discharged patients, addressing team resilience in terms of surgeons’ ability to respond to irregularities and to monitor and learn from experiences. The meeting was feasible to implement and well received by the surgical team. Observations reveal that reflection on both complicated and uncomplicated cases strengthened team morale but also triggered reflection on the entire clinical course. The QAM serves as a tool to identify how adapting behavior led to success despite challenging conditions, so that this resilient performance can be supported.
The resilience engineering concept can be used to adjust M&M, in which learning is focused not only on complications but also on how successful outcomes were achieved despite ever-present challenges. This reveals the actual ratio between successful and unsuccessful outcomes, allowing to learn from both to reinforce safety-enhancing behavior.