Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

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.

Original publication




Journal article


Bjs open

Publication Date





Checklist, Humans, Patient Safety, World Health Organization