Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Informing best practice for conducting morbidity and mortality reviews: a literature review*

Corey W. Joseph A B , Marie L. Garrubba A and Angela M. Melder A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Clinical Effectiveness, Monash Health, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Vic. 3168, Australia. Email: Marie.Garrubba@monashhealth.org; angela.melder@monashhealth.org

B Corresponding author. Email: corey.joseph@monashhealth.org

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16193
Submitted: 2 September 2016  Accepted: 24 February 2017   Published online: 20 April 2017

Abstract

Objective Preventable hospital mortality is a critical public health issue, particularly when mortalities are associated with events that are preventable. Mortality and morbidity reviews (MMRs) provide a rigorous, systematic, open, collaborative and transparent review process for clinicians to examine areas of improvement. The aim of the present review was to explore the evidence for best practice when conducting MMRs.

Methods Searches of published and grey literature from 2009 to February 2016 were conducted. This period was selected to update a previous review. Inclusion and exclusion criteria was established a priori and based on the Population-Intervention-Comparison-Outcome (PICO) framework. Specific search terms were generated and used to identify relevant articles, with reference lists and citing articles also screened for inclusions. Titles and abstracts were screened and duplicates removed. Study details regarding setting, study design, reported outcomes, tool type, clinicians present and the timing of MMRs were extracted and summarised.

Results After screening, 31 documents were included in the present review: 20 peer-reviewed articles and 11 items from the grey literature. Specific outcomes reported included mortality rates, satisfaction, education, cost and quality of care. The most common features of MMRs included timing, leadership, attendees, case presentation format, terms of reference, agenda and governance.

Conclusions MMRs decrease gross mortality rates and are effective in identifying and engaging clinicians in system improvements. MMRs should not focus on the actions of individuals, rather on education and/or quality improvement. MMRs should consist of a multidisciplinary team following a structured presentation format with an analysis of error process including actions to be followed-up. Further, it is possible for a single standardised MMR to be implemented hospital wide.

What is known about the topic? MMRs are conducted in a variety of clinical settings to educate clinicians and improve patient care.

What does this paper add? This review updates a previous review published in 2009 and summarises current evidence around morbidity and mortality reviews. This review also provides a framework for a standardised MMR to be implemented hospital wide.

What are the implications for practitioners? This summary of the evidence can be used to guide the development, formation or conduct of MMRs in any healthcare setting.


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