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At least 100,000 Americans die undergoing inpatient surgical procedures every year. Wide variation in mortality rate across hospitals suggests substantial opportunities for improvement. Failure to rescue, defined as mortality following a major complication, has been posited as a driving mechanism underlying these variations. A better understanding of how interactions and relationships within hospital micro-systems could be crucial to improving rescue through practical and effective interventions. These findings are summarized in a New England Journal of Medicine paper authored by Dr. Ghaferi entitled Variation in Hospital Mortality Associated with Inpatient Surgery


In collaboration with the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, this project will assess the key elements, such as teamwork, communication, respect, and leadership necessary for effective rescue from major postsurgical complications. This work will shed light on how healthcare organizations can be engaged to better sense, cope with, and respond to the unexpected and changing demands presented by clinically deteriorating post-surgical patients with life-threatening complications. The results will have direct, population-level impact to inform interventions aimed at reducing mortality in surgical patients in Michigan, and ultimately elsewhere.

The conceptual framework for this study was laid out by Dr. Ghaferi and his colleagues in a Harvard Business Review article entitled The Next Wave of Hospital Innovation to Make Patients Safer.

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