Study: Surgical safety checklists cut complications, death rates

A new research report has concluded that after eight hospitals in eight countries implemented surgical safety checklists, they saw improved outcomes on several levels, with the number of post-surgical complications falling to 7 percent, the number of deaths dropping to 0.8 percent and the volume of patients with surgical-site infections dropping 3.4 percent. The study, published on the New England Journal of Medicine's website, suggests that a large number of surgical complications and deaths could be avoided if such checklists were used globally.

Financed by the World Health Organization, the study looked at 30-day complication rates for 3,733 non-cardiac surgical patients who were 16 years of age or older before the checklist was introduced, then 3,955 such patients after the checklist was implemented at eight hospitals.

Researchers made use of the 19-item WHO checklist, which includes confirming patient identity, making sure surgical teams are aware of patient allergies, confirming the surgical site/procedure and confirming that prophylactic antibiotics were administered 60 minutes before surgery.

To get more background on the study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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