The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was created by an international group of experts gathered by the WHO with the goal of improving the safety of patients undergoing surgical procedures around the globe. Input from anesthesiologists, nurses, surgeons, patient safety experts, patients, and other professionals was used in the development of this tool.
The aim of this checklist is to reinforce accepted safety practices and foster better communication and teamwork between clinical disciplines. The checklist is intended as a tool for use by clinicians interested in improving the safety of their operations and reducing unnecessary surgical deaths and complications. Its use has been demonstrably associated with significant reductions in complication and death rates in diverse hospitals and settings, and with improvements in compliance to basic standards of care.
In 2008, the Safe Surgery Saves Lives team piloted the checklist in eight sites across the globe. The results of this study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine
in January 2009. In sites that ranged from small district hospitals to large medical centers in diverse geographic settings, the use of the checklist was demonstrated to reduce the complications and mortality associated with a variety of surgical procedures by greater than 30 percent.
The checklist has been designed to be simple to use and applicable in many settings. It is currently in active use in operating rooms around the world.
The Starter Kit, Implementation Manual, and other related resources are intended to help hospitals implement the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.
Listen to an IHI Informational Call: WHO Surgical Safety Checklist Tips on Implementation and Spread