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WHO Creates New Surgical Tool to Make Operations Safer Everywhere
Date:6/24/2008

School of Public Health today and involving more than 200 national and international medical societies and ministries of health in a effort to meet the goal of reducing avoidable deaths and complications in surgical care. Now, the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, developed under the leadership of, Dr Gawande identifies a set of surgical safety standards that can be applied in all countries and health settings.

Preliminary results from a thousand patients in eight pilot sites worldwide indicate that the checklist has nearly doubled the likelihood that patients will receive proven standards of surgical care. Use of the checklist in pilot sites has increased adherence to these standards of care from 36% to 68% and in some hospitals to levels approaching 100%. This has thus far resulted in substantial reductions in complications and deaths in this group. Final results on the checklist effect are anticipated within the next few months.

The checklist identifies three phases of an operation, each corresponding to a specific period in the normal flow of work: before induction of anaesthesia ('Sign In'), before skin incision ('Time Out') and before the patient leaves the operating room ('Sign Out'). In each phase a checklist coordinator must be permitted to confirm that the team has completed its tasks before it proceeds with the operation. For example, during the "Sign in" phase was the surgical site marked and the patient's know allergies checked , or during the "Sign out" phase where instruments, sponges and needles counted.

The WHO Guidelines and Checklist released today are the first edition. They will be finalized for dissemination by the end of 2008, after completion of evaluation in 8 pilot sites globally.

Notes to Editor:

* More information about the second Global Patient Safety Challenge Safe Surgery Saves Lives can be seen at http://www.who.int/patientsafety/

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SOURCE World Health Organization (WHO)
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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