"Great Saves" Added to Department M&M

December 9, 2022

The Department of Surgery is adding a "Great Saves" component to its monthly Morbidity and Mortality Conference (M&M). Starting in 2023, each M&M will begin with a Great Saves Presentation highlighting instances when a team works together to achieve an excellent patient outcome. 

"We want to recognize jobs well done, describe which system- and team-based aspects contributed to its success, and encourage similar action in the future," said Dr. Elizabeth George, a vascular surgeon who is heading the new program. 

The force behind the "Great Saves" initiative is a collaboration of Clinical Affairs, the Department's JEDI Council, and the Division of Vascular Surgery, where the idea originated. 

"A while back, we were brainstorming ways to improve our Monday morning Vascular M&M conference, and we came up with the idea of 'great saves' to complement our quality improvement case discussions," said George. 

Although M&Ms are an important teaching tool in medical education, they can be disheartening and stressful. 

"The presentations will hopefully remind us that despite the complications about to be presented, we can and do help people and save lives," said George. 

Examples might include: the trauma, vascular, and PRS teams saving a limb following a GSW, the K5 nurses and interns working together to expeditiously escalate care of a sick floor patient to the SICU, or a complex, multi-service procedure that has exemplary coordination and execution.

Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs Dr. Ron Dalman, who runs the departmental M&Ms, says improving patient-care and safety requires an approach with multiple fronts.

"We can learn just as much from our successes as our failures, and recognize extraordinary contributions in the process," said Dalman. "It helps to understand our successes and most importantly, what decisions/interventions/collaborations made these successes possible."

Dr. Jill Helms, vice chair of diversity and head of the Department's JEDI council, also backed the initiative. 

"Our departmental survey results clearly pointed to the high value we place on recognizing a job well done, because it called out our tendency to sometimes overlook the significance of such acknowledgments," said Helms. 

Gratitude has been shown to increase feelings of inclusion, acceptance, and belonging.

"'Great Saves' is gratitude in action, a way to hit the reset button and savor the victories made possible by teams of staff, trainees, and faculty," said Helms.

"Great Saves" follows in the footsteps of Cultural Complications, which was added to the standard M&M curriculum in 2020. Cultural Complications focuses on bias in the hospital environment and how to address diverse scientific and clinical challenges. 

If you have a "great save" suggestion, contact Dr. Elizabeth George via email.