Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a risk management tool to proactively identify and assess the causes and effects of potential failures in a system, thereby preventing them from happening. The objective of this study was to evaluate effectiveness of FMEA applied to an academic clinical trial center in a tertiary care setting.
A multidisciplinary FMEA focus group at the Seoul National University Hospital Clinical Trials Center selected 6 core clinical trial processes, for which potential failure modes were identified and their risk priority number (RPN) was assessed. Remedial action plans for high-risk failure modes (RPN >160) were devised and a follow-up RPN scoring was conducted a year later.
A total of 114 failure modes were identified with an RPN score ranging 3–378, which was mainly driven by the severity score. Fourteen failure modes were of high risk, 11 of which were addressed by remedial actions. Rescoring showed a dramatic improvement attributed to reduction in the occurrence and detection scores by >3 and >2 points, respectively.