Table 1

Revised severity categories

Category (score)Outcome typeDescription of outcome(s) within category
Catastrophic (4)Patient outcomesOriginal HFMEA: Death or major permanent loss of function, suicide, rape, haemolytic transfusion reaction, surgery/procedure on wrong patient or body part, or infant abduction. Revised: It is realistic to think that this failure mode could result in death or serious disability.
Equipment or facility outcomesDamage equal to or more than $250 000
Major (3)Patient outcomesOriginal HFMEA: permanent lessening of body functioning (sensory, motor, physiologic, or intellectual), disfigurement, surgical intervention required, or increased length of stay or increased level of care for three or more patients. Revised: this failure mode could (but is unlikely to) really hurt someone or result in a much longer length of stay.
Equipment or facility outcomesDamage equal to or more than $100 000
Moderate (2)Patient outcomesOriginal HFMEA: increased length of stay or increased level of care for one or two patients. Revised: this failure mode could extend lenght of stay but is unlikely to be fatal, or could adversely affect health, but not severe.
Equipment or facility outcomesDamage more than $10 000 but less than $100 000
Minor (1)Patient outcomesOriginal HFMEA: no injury, not increased length of stay, nor increased level of care. Revised: slight increase in length of stay, no effect on health outcomes.
Equipment or facility outcomesDamage less than $10 000 or loss of any utility without adverse patient outcomes (eg, power, natural gas, electricity, water, communications, transport, heat/air conditioning)
  • HFMEA, Health Care Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.