Hamilton Health Sciences
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Surgical Safety Checklist


What is Surgical Safety Checklist?

The Ontario government launched the Surgical Safety Checklist, developed by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, at the start of April 2010 and hospitals are required to publically report quarterly their compliance rates with the new protocols.  This tool, which is now mandatory in all Ontario hospitals, is designed to get Operating Room teams talking about the procedure that they are about to perform, and has been shown to reduce the rates of death and complications among patients.

The checkst includes three phases.  The first is a "Briefing" before the patient is anesthetized where team members introduce themselves, confirm patient information, and discuss any potential issues or necessary equipment or medication.  The second phase is a "Time Out" where the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurse verbally confirm the patient's ID, the procedure, the site of the procedure, etc. before skin incision.  The third phase is a "Debriefing" before the patient leaves the Operating Room, where the entire team reviews the procedure, recovery plan, and any concerns.

The Surgical Safety Checklist promotes communication and teamwork and furthers the organization's patient safety efforts.  Instead of implementing Surgical Safety Checklist immediately for all surgical cases, Hamilton Health Sciences piloted the checklist in certan key areas.  We wanted to ensure that the checklist did not just become another routine activity and implementing in stages ensured  that everyone had an understanding of the process and that it could be sustained.  In June, the Surgical Safety Checklist was expanded to more services.  Because the implementation was done first as a pilot and then expanding outward, Hamilton Health Sciences' compliance results at the beginning were lower than those of some other hospitals, but compliance rates have been steadily increasing as more services start implementing the tool in a sustainable way. 


Surgical Safety Checklist Compliance Results


Hamilton Health Sciences
General Juravinski McMaster West Lincoln
July 2017-December 2017 97.99% 99.70% 98.45% 98.91%
January-June 2017 98.97% 99.73% 98.40% 96.90%
July-December 2016 98.94% 99.68% 98.12% 93.51%
January-June 2016 98.65% 99.56% 99.05% 86.89%
July-December 2015 98.53% 99.67% 97.63% 83.06%
January-June 2015 98.82% 99.59% 96.77% 92.55%
July-December 2014 98.97% 99.50% 95.98% 94.15%
January-June 2014 99.08% 99.33% 97.88% 95.31%
Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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