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Hospitals demonstrate surgical safety checklist drops deaths and complications by more than a third
Date:1/18/2009

e that requires only a few minutes to complete at three critical junctures of operative care: before anesthesia is administered, before skin incision, and before the patient is removed from the operating room. Items on the checklist are intended to ensure safe delivery of anesthesia, appropriate preventive measures against infection, effective teamwork and other essential practices in operative care.

Four countries, the UK, Ireland, Jordan and the Philippines, have already established nationwide programs to implement the checklist in all operating rooms.

"The results are startling," said Gawande, senior author of the NEJM article. "They indicate that gaps in teamwork and safety practices in surgery are substantial in countries both rich and poor. With the annual global volume of surgery now exceeding even the volume of childbirth, the use of the WHO checklist could reduce deaths and disabilities by millions. There should be no time wasted in introducing these checklists to help surgical teams do their best work to save lives."

"The checklist had a visible impact in every site in the study," added Alex Haynes, MD, a research fellow at HSPH and the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the article's lead author. "Even many clinicians who were initially skeptical of the idea became advocates once they saw the benefits to safety and consistency of care."

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in the U.S. recently announced a "sprint" to introduce the checklist in all 4,000 hospitals that took part in its recent 5 Million Lives Campaign, a national effort to improve quality and safety. These hospitals represent two-thirds of American hospitals.

IHI President and CEO Donald M. Berwick said: "I cannot recall a clinical care innovation in the past 30 years that has shown results of the magnitude demonstrated by the surgical checklist. This is a change ready right now for adoption by every hospital that performs surg
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Contact: Robin Herman
rherman@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-4752
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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