Study: Printed Surgical Safety Checklist Improves Item Validation Rate

Using a printed surgical safety checklist as a memory tool improves the rate of validation of checklist items, according to a study in BMJ Quality and Safety.

Researchers studied the use of the Surgical Safety Checklist during elective surgery at Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland from March to July 2010. Researchers assessed whether each item of the Time Out and the Sign Out checklists were checked by at least one member of the team and double-checked by at least one other member of the team.


Results showed that while most items during the Time Out were confirmed once, items during Sign Out were confirmed less often. Furthermore, validation of all items — the double-check — occurred in only 13 percent of Time Outs and 3 percent of Sign Outs. When a printed checklist was used as a memory tool during Sign Out, however, 20 percent of interventions had almost all items validated.

The authors concluded that OR teams need to be trained on proper completion of the Surgical Safety Checklist.

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