Surgical safety checklists: a review

Tang, Reuben, Ranmuthugala, Geetha and Cunningham, Frances (2013) Surgical safety checklists: a review. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 84 3: 148-154. doi:10.1111/ans.12168

Author Tang, Reuben
Ranmuthugala, Geetha
Cunningham, Frances
Title Surgical safety checklists: a review
Journal name ANZ Journal of Surgery   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-1433
Publication date 2013-04-18
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ans.12168
Volume 84
Issue 3
Start page 148
End page 154
Total pages 7
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Surgical checklists are designed to improve patient outcomes following surgery. While such checklists have been widely implemented worldwide, few studies examine surgical checklists within an Australian context. For this purpose, we have performed a literature review using data from OECD member nations to determine the effectiveness of surgical checklists in improving patient outcomes and factors that contribute to their successful implementation.

Method: The databases, Pubmed, Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane and CINAHL were searched using the keywords (‘surgical’ AND ‘checklist’) and ( (surgical) AND checklist) AND ( (implementation) OR (utilization) OR (usage) ). Studies were limited to those written in the English language, peer-reviewed, published between January 2000 and December 2012, and including an abstract.

Results: Our search yielded 2242 papers, of which 72 papers were identified for their potential relevance and selected for full text review. Of these, nine papers met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed in detail. Evidence that supports the use of surgical checklists in countries with a large number of protocols already in place is limited. Adequate checklist implementation plays a central role in checklist effectiveness, which in turn is dependent on multiple factors.

Conclusion: Although evidence from OECD member countries is non-conclusive, it does suggest that surgical checklists, when effectively implemented, have the potential to be effective at reducing complication and mortality rates following surgery. Within an Australian context, more studies are needed to fully establish the potential effectiveness of surgical checklists and to monitor checklist use compliance in order to ensure greater patient safety.
Keyword Guideline adherence
Health services research
Quality assurance health care
Quality of health care
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 18 April 2013.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 08 Aug 2013, 15:17:03 EST by Geetha Ranmuthugala on behalf of Rural Clinical School