Improving the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist sign-out.
Tully PA., Ng B., McGagh D., Meehan N., Khachane A., Higgs J., Newman M., Morgan L., David E., McCulloch P.
BACKGROUND: The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist has been shown to reduce perioperative morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is evidence to suggest that sign-out is the most poorly performed phase of the checklist as it coincides with a period of high workload for team members. This study aimed to see whether modification of this process might result in greater compliance. METHODS: A controlled longitudinal (before and after) study was performed to evaluate the effect of a modified checklist sign-out on compliance in a single surgical department. Checklist quality was evaluated by measurement of checklist completion, active participation, and team member presence. Workload assessment was performed to identify the optimal moment for the sign-out process. The sign-out process was modified through an iterative multidisciplinary approach, informed by results from the workload assessment. Feedback was obtained through staff surveys. RESULTS: A total of 185 operations were used, with an intervention group in vascular surgery and a control group in orthopaedics. The optimal timing for sign-out was identified as after final wound closure. The modified sign-out process improved active participation of team members (21 of 34 versus 31 of 34; P = 0.010). In the control group, complete compliance improved (48 of 76 versus 30 of 41; P = 0.041). However, active participation decreased (53 of 76 versus 19 of 41; P = 0.022). No differences were noted between groups in team member presence. Eighteen of 21 staff questioned viewed the modifications positively. CONCLUSION: The optimal sign-out timing was identified as immediately after final wound closure prior to undraping the patient.