Practice-based learning and improvement: A two-year experience with the reporting of morbidity and mortality cases by general surgery residents

John L. Falcone*, Kenneth K.W. Lee, Timothy R. Billiar, Giselle G. Hamad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competency of practice-based learning and improvement can be assessed with surgical Morbidity and Mortality Conference (MMC). We aim to describe the MMC reporting patterns of general surgery residents, describe the adverse event rate for patients and compare that with existing published rates, and describe the nature of our institutional adverse events. We hypothesize that reporting patterns and incidence rates will remain constant over time. Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, archived MMC case lists were evaluated from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010. The reporting patterns of the residents, the adverse event ratios, and the specific categories of adverse events were described over the academic years. χ 2 and Fisher's exact tests were used to compare across academic years, using an α = 0.05. Results: There were 85 surgical MMC case lists evaluated. Services achieved a reporting rate above 80% (p < 0.001). The most consistent reporting was done by postgraduate year (PGY) 5 level chief residents for all services (p > 0.05). Out of 11,368 patients evaluated from complete MMC submissions, 289 patients had an adverse event reported (2.5%). This was lower than published reporting rates for patient adverse event rates (p < 0.001). Adverse event rates were consistent for residents at the postgraduate year 2, 4, and 5 levels for all services (p > 0.05). Over 2 years, 522 adverse events were reported for 461 patients. A majority of adverse events were from death (24.1%), hematologic and/or vascular events (16.7%), and gastrointestinal system events (16.1%). Conclusions: Surgery resident MMC reporting patterns and adverse event rates are generally stable over time. This study shows which adverse event cases are important for chief residents to report.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical conference
  • competency-based education
  • graduate medical education
  • morbidity
  • mortality


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