What is the surgical checklist?

A surgical safety checklist is a patient safety communication tool that uses a team of operating room professionals (nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and others) to discuss important details about each surgical case. Surgical checklists represent a relatively simple and promising strategy for addressing surgical patient safety worldwide. More studies are needed to assess the extent to which checklists improve clinical outcomes and whether improvements can be more pronounced in particular settings. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and the Joint Commission's Universal Protocol (UP) to Prevent Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure and Wrong Person Surgery6 have been widely implemented to improve care when performing surgical procedures.

Surgical safety policies prior to the implementation of the WHO Checklist also differed in terms of the use of routine intraoperative monitoring with pulse oximetry (six of the eight sites), oral confirmation of patient identity, and the surgical site in the operating room (only two of the eight sites) and routine administration of prophylactic antibiotics in the operating room (five out of eight sites). Yuan et al14 reported that two Liberian hospitals found that the introduction of the checklist was significantly associated with fewer surgical site infections (adjusted OR (AOR) 0.28; 95% CI: 0.15 to 0.5 and surgical complications (AOR 0.45; 95% CI: 0.26 to 0.7). The WHO surgical safety checklist is a prominent example of a surgical checklist aimed at ensuring safe surgery and minimizing complications. Surgical checklists were associated with greater detection of potential safety hazards, decreased surgical complications, and better communication between operating personnel.

Surgical safety checklists were associated with increased detection of potential safety hazards, decreased surgical complications, and better communication among ward staff Conclusions Surgical checklists represent a relatively simple and promising strategy for addressing the safety of surgical patients around the world. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist has been successfully adapted for implementation in a wide variety of settings, including all surgical specialties, academic and community hospitals, and industrialized and developing countries. Barriers to implementation included that surgeons said they already knew the patients or the surgical site was obvious, and that input from all surgical departments was not included in the development of the protocol. After the surgery is complete, but before you leave the operating room, the surgical team will use the logoff checklist to complete the medical record documentation and address anything that could be improved in future surgical cases.

WHO surgical checklist saves lives by ensuring surgical equipment complies with standard operating procedures. While surgical procedures are meant to save lives, unsafe surgical care can cause substantial damage. Every year, many millions of people undergo surgical treatment and surgical interventions account for approximately 13% of the world's total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Third, reported results do not mean that all surgical checklists are beneficial; other surgical checklists containing different elements may or may not be beneficial.

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Dán Luu
Dán Luu

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