Root cause analyses performed in a children's hospital: events, action plan strength, and implementation rates

J Healthc Qual. 2012 Jan-Feb;34(1):55-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1945-1474.2011.00140.x. Epub 2011 Apr 7.


This study describes the types of events leading to the performance of root cause analyses (RCA) and the implementation rate and quality of the action plans developed for RCAs performed at a free standing children's hospital. Twenty serious adverse events resulting in RCAs took place between January 2007 and June 2009. A wide variety of events triggered RCAs however, 30% involved medication errors. Seventy-eight action plans were developed with an average of 3.9 ± 1.3 per RCA. Action plans were classified as weaker 46% of the time, intermediate 44% of the time, and stronger 10% of the time. Intermediate or stronger action plans were developed to address 90% of the events. Ninety-five percent of the action plans were implemented. This study demonstrates that RCA can be effectively utilized to consistently generate moderate and high impact action plans to address a diverse array of adverse events within a children's hospital. Near complete implementation of action plans can be achieved.

MeSH terms

  • Arizona
  • Child
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / standards
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*
  • Quality Improvement / standards
  • Root Cause Analysis / methods
  • Root Cause Analysis / organization & administration*
  • Safety Management / methods
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*