INTRODUCTION: Healthcare quality improvements are one of the most important goals to reach a better and safer healthcare system. Reviewing in-hospital mortality data is useful to identify areas for improvement, and to monitor the impact of actions taken to avoid preventable cases, such as those related to healthcare associated infections (HAI).
METHODS: In this paper, we present the experience of the Mortality Committee of Bambino Gesù Children Hospital (OPBG). OPBG has instituted a process of systematic revision of all in-hospital deaths conducted by a multidisciplinary team. The goal is to identify system-wide issues that could be improved to reduce in-hospital preventable deaths. In this way, the mortality review goes alongside all the other risk management activities for the continuous quality improvement and patient safety.
RESULTS: In years 2008-2017, we performed a systematic analysis of 1148 inpatient deaths. In this time period, the overall mortality rate was 0.4%. Forty-seven deaths were due to infections, 10 of which involved patients with HAI transferred to OPBG from other facilities or patients with community-acquired infections. Six deaths related to HAI were followed by claims compensations. All these cases were not followed by compensation because the onset of HAI was considered an inevitable consequence of the underlying disease.
CONCLUSION: Introduction of the mortality review committee has proved to be a valid instrument to improve the quality of the care provided in a hospital, allowing early identification of care gaps that could lead to an increase in mortality rates.