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Hospitals demonstrate surgical safety checklist drops deaths and complications by more than a third


Gawande's research team has also estimated that if the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist were implemented in all operating rooms across the U.S., the annual cost-savings from the prevention of major complications would be $15 billion to $25 billion per year.

Concluded Gawande: "Modern medicine is complex. Our findings have implications beyond surgery, indicating that checklists could increase the safety and reliability of care in numerous medical fields. The checklists must be short, extremely simple, and carefully tested in the real world. But in specialties ranging from cardiac care to pediatric care, they could become as essential in daily medicine as the stethoscope."

The checklist and other supporting materials are freely available on the WHO Safe Surgery Saves Lives site:

The hospital pilot sites:

A video of an operating team using the checklist:

Co-authors of the NEJM paper, "A Surgical Safety Checklist to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality in a Global Population," (N Engl J Med 2009;360:491-9) include:

Haynes, Alex; Harvard School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management; Massachusetts General Hospital, Surgery

Weiser, Thomas; Harvard School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management; University of California Davis, Surgery

Berry, William; Harvard School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management

Lipsitz, Stuart; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Center for Surgery and Public Health

Briezat, Abdel-Hadi; Prince Hamzah Hospital, Ministry of Health, Jordan

Dellinger, E. Patchen; Dep

Contact: Robin Herman
Harvard School of Public Health

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