Wake up safe and root cause analysis: Quality improvement in pediatric anesthesia

Imelda Tjia, Sally Rampersad, Anna Varughese, Eugenie Heitmiller, Donald C. Tyler, Angela C. Lee, Laura A. Hastings, Tetsu Uejima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In 2006, the Quality and Safety Committee of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia initiated a quality improvement project for the specialty of pediatric anesthesiology that ultimately resulted in the development of Wake Up Safe (WUS), a patient safety organization that maintains a registry of de-identified, serious adverse events. The ultimate goal of WUS is to implement change in processes of care that improve the quality and safety of anesthetic care provided to pediatric patients nationwide. Member institutions of WUS submit data regarding the types and numbers of anesthetics performed and information pertaining to serious adverse events. Before a member institution submits data for any serious adverse event, 3 anesthesiologists who were not involved in the event must analyze the event with a root cause analysis (RCA) to identify the causal factor(s). Because institutions across the country use many different RCA methods, WUS educated its members on RCA methods in an effort to standardize the analysis and evaluate each serious adverse event that is submitted. In this review, we summarize the background and development of this patient safety initiative, describe the standardized RCA method used by its members, demonstrate the use of this RCA method to analyze a serious event that was reported, and discuss the ways WUS plans to use the data to promote safer anesthetic practices for children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-136
Number of pages15
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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