Efforts to study morbidity and mortality conferences (M&MC) are hampered by the lack of rigorous instruments to assess the effectiveness of the conferences for the purpose of quality improvement and medical education. This might limit further advancement of the practice. The aim of this scoping review was to determine commonly used effectiveness measures of M&MC in the literature.
A scoping review was performed of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies of M&MC, using databases from PubMed, Emcare, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane library. Studies were included if an outcome was described after a general evaluation or an intervention to M&MC. Study quality was assessed with the Quality Assessment Tool for Studies with Diverse Designs.
A total of 43 articles were included in the review. The majority used a quantitative (n = 23) or mixed (n = 17) design, with surveys as the most frequent method used for data collection (n = 29). The overall Quality Assessment Tool for Studies with Diverse Designs scores were modest (64%). Outcome measures used to evaluate the effectiveness of M&MC were clustered in the following categories: “participant experiences,” “characteristics of the meeting,” “medical knowledge,” “actions for improvement,” and “clinical outcomes.”
This review found a wide variety of effectiveness measures for M&MC. Rather than using isolated measures, approaches that combine multiple effectiveness measures could offer a more comprehensive assessment of M&MC. Although there was a preference for quantitative metrics, this fails to seize the opportunity of qualitative methods to yield insights into sociological purposes of M&MC, such as building professional identities and safety culture.