Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mortality and morbidity process?

The M&M process describes the review of incidents from the initial event to the mortality and morbidity meeting and implementation of identified actions or outcomes.

A mortality and morbidity meeting is ‘a unique opportunity for caregivers to improve the quality of care offered through case studies. They provide clinicians and members of the healthcare team with a routine forum for the open examination of adverse events, complications, and errors that may have led to illness or death in patients’.

Mortality and morbidity meetings are also known as mortality and morbidity reviews or conferences, case conferences or clinical teaching conferences. The term ‘patient safety’ or ‘quality improvement’ or ‘quality assurance’

Why do we need mortality and morbidity meetings?

Mortality and morbidity meetings support a systematic approach to the review of patient deaths or care complications to improve patient care and provide professional learning.

The meetings give ownership to clinical teams and offer a direct opportunity to improve care delivery in a timely manner. Effectively run audit and peer review processes, incorporating analysis of mortality and morbidity cases, contribute to improved patient safety and professional development.

Mortality and morbidity meetings traditionally exist in many healthcare organisations, but the learning and improvement outputs are underutilised.

The evidence suggests that this type of educational approach can ‘improve accountability of mortality data and support quality improvement without compromising professional learning’, particularly when a standardised review and facilitation process are employed.

There are often gaps between the function and learning from mortality and morbidity meetings and other reflective practice and wider organisational governance and quality assurance thus further limiting organisational learning and limiting the value placed upon such team activities.