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Failure mode and effect analysis: improving intensive care unit risk management processes

Roohollah Askari (Department of Health Services Management, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran)
Milad Shafii (Department of Health Services Management, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran)
Sima Rafiei (Department of Health Management, School of Health, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin, Iran)
Mohammad Sadegh Abolhassani (Abarkouh Paramedical School, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran)
Elaheh Salarikhah (Department of Health Services Management, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 18 April 2017

725

Abstract

Purpose

Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a practical tool to evaluate risks, discover failures in a proactive manner and propose corrective actions to reduce or eliminate potential risks. The purpose of this paper is to apply FMEA technique to examine the hazards associated with the process of service delivery in intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary hospital in Yazd, Iran.

Design/methodology/approach

This was a before-after study conducted between March 2013 and December 2014. By forming a FMEA team, all potential hazards associated with ICU services – their frequency and severity – were identified. Then risk priority number was calculated for each activity as an indicator representing high priority areas that need special attention and resource allocation.

Findings

Eight failure modes with highest priority scores including endotracheal tube defect, wrong placement of endotracheal tube, EVD interface, aspiration failure during suctioning, chest tube failure, tissue injury and deep vein thrombosis were selected for improvement. Findings affirmed that improvement strategies were generally satisfying and significantly decreased total failures.

Practical implications

Application of FMEA in ICUs proved to be effective in proactively decreasing the risk of failures and corrected the control measures up to acceptable levels in all eight areas of function.

Originality/value

Using a prospective risk assessment approach, such as FMEA, could be beneficial in dealing with potential failures through proposing preventive actions in a proactive manner. The method could be used as a tool for healthcare continuous quality improvement so that the method identifies both systemic and human errors, and offers practical advice to deal effectively with them.

Keywords

Citation

Askari, R., Shafii, M., Rafiei, S., Abolhassani, M.S. and Salarikhah, E. (2017), "Failure mode and effect analysis: improving intensive care unit risk management processes", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 208-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHCQA-04-2016-0053

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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