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Reducing wrong intraocular lens implants in cataract surgery: 3 years of experience with the SEIPS framework in Singapore

Huey Peng Loh (Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore)
Dirk Frans de Korne (Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore)
Soon Phaik Chee (Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore)
Ranjana Mathur (Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 14 August 2017




Wrong lens implants have been associated with the highest frequency of medical errors in cataract surgery. The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework to sustainably reduce wrong intraocular lens (IOL) implants in cataract surgery.


In this mixed-methods study, the SEIPS framework was used to analyse a series of (near) misses of IOL implants in a national tertiary specialty hospital in Singapore. A series of interventions was developed and applied in the case hospital. Risk assessment audits were done before the interventions (2012; n=6,111 surgeries), during its implementation (n=7,475) and in the two years post-interventions (2013-2015; n=39,390) to compare the wrong IOL-rates.


Although the absolute number of incidents was low, the incident rate decreased from 4.91 before to 2.54 per 10,000 cases after. Near miss IOL error decreased from 5.89 before to 3.55 per 1,000 cases after. The number of days between two IOL incidents increased from 35 to an initial peak of 385 before stabilizing on 56. The large variety of available IOL types and vendors was found as the main root cause of wrong implants that required reoperation.

Practical implications

The SEIPS framework seems to be helpful to assess components involved and develop sustainable quality and safety interventions that intervene at different levels of the system.


The SEIPS model is supportive to address differences between person and system root causes comprehensively and thereby foster quality and patient safety culture.



Loh, H.P., de Korne, D.F., Chee, S.P. and Mathur, R. (2017), "Reducing wrong intraocular lens implants in cataract surgery: 3 years of experience with the SEIPS framework in Singapore", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 492-505.



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