Safer Cataract Surgery

Kellogg Eye Center Patient Safety Team

Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure in ophthalmology. Although the vast majority of procedures are successful, the complexity inherent in cataract surgery increases the potential for a mistake to occur. 

The Kellogg Eye Center recently embarked on a comprehensive review of all steps involved in cataract surgery, in order to make the procedure safer for patients and ensure the highest quality of care.

“This is a very deep dive into our process,” explains Jennifer Weizer, MD, associate professor and director of the Kellogg quality improvement team. “We’re looking at every step to identify and address vulnerabilities before errors or even close calls occur.” Based on an approach first developed to improve safety in military and manufacturing settings, Kellogg adopted a hybrid model developed for healthcare by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety.

Assisted by colleagues from Michigan Medicine and the College of Engineering, a working group was formed, including 23 faculty and staff involved in every aspect of cataract surgery. “Based on our analysis, we recommended 34 separate changes to make cataract surgery less vulnerable to human error” says Dr. Weizer.

The implementation phase, currently underway, focuses on translating the recommendations into a consistent approach to all cataract surgeries at Kellogg. Continuous observation will ensure that the changes positively impact outcomes.