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 for April-June 2010 are lower than those of some other hospitals, but compliance rates are steadily increasing as more services start implementing the tool in a sustainable way and in Q2 2016/17 all sites together average was 98.2%. 


Surgical Safety Checklist Compliance Results


# Surgeries where Surgical Checklist Performed Total # Surgeries Percent Compliance
Jul-Sept 2016      
General 2,243 2,266 99.0%
Juravinski 1,554 1,559 99.7%
McMaster 1,906 1,947 97.9%
WLMH 760 812 93.6%
Apr-June 2016      
General 2,516 2,549 98.7%
Juravinski 1,763 1,768 99.7%
McMaster 2,233 2,251 99.2%
WLMH 764 826 92.5%
Jan-Mar 2016      
General 2,307 2,340 98.6%
Juravinski 1,663 1,673 99.4%
McMaster 2,031 2,054 98.9%
WLMH 701 765 91.6%
Oct-Dec 2015      
General 2,228 2,255 98.8%
Juravinski 1,616 1,626 99.4%
McMaster 1,939 1,973 98.3%
WLMH 673 777 86.6%
July-Sept 2015      
General 2,200 2,238 98.3%
Juravinski 1,686 1,688 99.9%
McMaster 1,927 1,989 96.9%
WLMH 603 817 73.8%
Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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