New report published to give practical steps for using surgical checklists safely

Posted by vh58 at Jan 11, 2016 11:20 AM |
The report builds on SAPPHIRE research to help maximise the benefit of the checklist.

A new, freely accessible report led by Dr Emmilie Aveling of the University of Leicester offers practical guidance those seeking to optimise implementation of the surgical checklist. Building on previously published research findings, this Wellcome Trust-funded report offers seven concrete steps to support healthcare workers and organisation.

The Surgical Safety Checklist, a list of 19 checks which includes both technical items such as adequate levels of equipment, and non-technical items such as team introductions to improve communications, was introduced by the World Health Organisation in 2007. More than 4,000 hospitals worldwide have registered as users of the checklist.

Research led by Dr Aveling examined how the checklist was used in operating theatres in two English hospitals and two-Saharan African hospital. This work has led to a number of important recommendations. They include the need to identify strong local leaders to ‘champion’ the checklist and persuade their peers of its value, to ensure adequate organisational support for the checklist, to ensure that staff are held accountable for the way that it is used.

Dr Emmilie Aveling, a Research Fellow in the Social Science APPlied to Healthcare REsearch (SAPPHIRE) group at the University of Leicester, commented, “We hope that this report has provided some helpful and concrete examples of how to overcome challenges and maximise the benefit of introducing the checklist for patients and staff.”



Key Lessons for practitioners and partners

  1. Ensure the systems, processes and equipment that are necessary to support proper use of the checklist are in place
  2. Use a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to introducing the checklist
  3. Identify strong local leaders to act as checklist ‘champions’
  4. Customise implementation of the checklist to suit the local context
  5. Ensure there is support for implementing the checklist from every level of the organisation
  6. Collect and use data to inform and sustain implementation efforts
  7. Coordinate and make use of existing resources to support implementation through local and international networks.



Aveling EL et al. A qualitative study comparing experiences of the Surgical Safety Checklist in hospitals in high and low-income countries. BMJ Open 2013.

About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.

Additional Information

Further detail about the rationale behind the report can be found on the SAPPHIRE blog.

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Leicester, and Peter McCulloch in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Science at the University of Oxford were co-investigators on the project, along with Yvette Kayonga at the Catholic University of Rwanda and Ansha Nega at Gondar University.

The report was funded by Mary Dixon-Woods’ Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award.

Information about the original publication of results can be found on the Wellcome Trust website.

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