Background and Objectives:
During its monthly morbidity and mortality conference (MMC), the University of Colorado Division of Cardiology reviewed a “near-miss” patient safety event involving the delayed completion of a Stat-priority (ie, statim, meaning high priority) electrocardiogram (ECG). Because critical and interprofessional stakeholders participated in the conference, we hypothesized that the MMC would be associated with reduced ECG completion times.
Data were collected for in-hospital ECGs performed at the University of Colorado Hospital between January 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. An interrupted time series analysis was used to estimate the immediate and ongoing impact of the MMC (held on February 28, 2018) on ECG completion times, stratified by order priority (Stat, Now, or Routine). The percentage of delayed Stat-priority ECGs was analyzed as a secondary outcome.
Before the MMC, ECG completion times were stable for all order priorities (P > .2), but the proportion of delayed Stat-priority ECGs increased from 5% in January 2017 to 20% in February 2018 (P < .01). The MMC was associated with an immediate reduction in average daily ECG completion times for Routine (−18.4 minutes, P = .03) and Now (−8 minutes, P = .024) priority ECGs. No reduction was seen for Stat ECGs (P = .97), though the percentage of delayed Stat ECGs stopped increasing (P = .63). In the post-MMC period, completion times for Routine-priority ECGs increased and approached pre-MMC levels.
The MMC was associated with an immediate, but temporary, improvement in ECG completion times. Although the observed clinical benefit of the MMC is novel, these data support the need for more durable reforms to sustain initial improvements.