Implementing Safe Surgery Checklists at Your Surgery Center: Q&A With Linda Lansing & Michelle George of Surgical Care Affiliates


Linda LansingSenior Vice President of Clinical Services for Surgical Care Affiliates Linda Lansing and Vice President of Clinical Services Michelle George discuss safe surgery checklists for ambulatory surgery centers. They will discuss these topics further in a free webinar on October 1, 2013, 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. CDT. Click here to learn more and register for the webinar.


Q: What are the key elements of a strong Safe Surgery Checklist?

Surgery facility leaders should develop simple Safe Surgery Checklists that will drive usage. Overly detailed checklists can become so cumbersome that they actually inhibit efficiency and effectiveness.

Michelle GeorgeQ: What steps should administrators take to begin the implementation process?

Four key components are crucial to the Safe Surgery Checklist implementation process: engage actively with key stakeholders, develop tools and processes to support implementation, set clear expectations for individual accountability and make the checklist part of your culture. By completing each step in this process, surgery center leaders can maximize the use of the checklist.

Q: How can ASC leaders motivate physician and staff buy-in for implementing the Safe Surgery Checklist?

To ensure that OR team members and physicians are in support of the Safe Surgery Checklist, all involved parties should be engaged from conception to execution. By creating a sense of ownership in the checklist and making the checklist part of your ASC culture, greater pull-through on the checklist usage can be expected. Additionally, checklist usage should be reported and discussed at medical staff and team meetings.  

Q: Why is it so important for ASCs to have a Safe Surgery Checklist?

In addition to being part of regulatory and accreditation compliance, Safe Surgery Checklists are essential in ASCs because surgery is a process that is both complex and routine.  Checklists provide an opportunity to identify and remediate issues before they occur, preventing healthcare harm before it reaches the patient.

Q: How do Safe Surgery Checklists benefit the ASC?

Safe Surgery Checklists benefit the ASC by increasing the level of care provided to patients. As healthcare professionals, we owe it to our patients to develop and implement processes that promote surgical safety. No matter how expert we are in our profession, well-designed checklists have been proven to improve outcomes.

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