Assessment of the contribution of morbidity and mortality conferences to quality and safety improvement: a survey of participants' perceptions

BMC Health Serv Res. 2016 May 11:16:176. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1431-5.


Background: Evidence for the effectiveness of the morbidity and mortality conferences in improving patient safety is lacking. The aim of this survey was to assess the opinion of participants concerning the benefits and the functioning of morbidity and mortality conferences, according to their organizational characteristics.

Methods: We conducted a survey of professionals involved in a morbidity and mortality conference using a self-administered questionnaire in three French teaching hospitals in 2012. The questionnaire focused on the functioning of morbidity and mortality conferences, the perceived benefits, the motivations of participants, and how morbidity and mortality conferences could be improved. The perception of participants was analysed according to the characteristics of morbidity and mortality conferences.

Results: A total of 698 participants in 54 morbidity and mortality conferences completed the questionnaire. Most of them (91 %) were satisfied with how the morbidity and mortality conference they attended was conducted. The improvements in healthcare quality and patient safety were the main benefits perceived by participants. Effectiveness in improving safety was mainly perceived when cases were thoroughly analysed (adjusted odds ratio [a0R] =2.31 [1.14-4.66]). The existence of a written charter (p = 0.05), the use of a standardized case presentation (p = 0.049), and prior dissemination of the meeting agenda (p = 0.02) were also associated with the perception of morbidity and mortality conference effectiveness. The development and achievement of improvement initiatives were associated with morbidity and mortality conferences perceived as being more effective (p < 0.01). Participants suggested improving the attendance of medical and paramedical professionals to enhance the effectiveness of morbidity and mortality conferences.

Conclusions: Morbidity and mortality conferences were positively perceived. These results suggest that a structured framework and thoroughly analyzing cases improve their effectiveness.

Keywords: Hospital; Morbidity and mortality conferences; Patient safety; Quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity*
  • Mortality*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Perception
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires