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J Infect Public Health. 2015 May-Jun;8(3):219-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Use of the surgical safety checklist to improve communication and reduce complications.

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Department of Surgery, University of Washington, PO Box 356410, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; Surgical Outcomes Research Center, University of Washington, 1107 NE 45th Street, Suite 502, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Department of Surgery, University of Washington, PO Box 356410, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. Electronic address:


Existing evidence suggests that communication failures are common in the operating room, and that they lead to increased complications, including infections. Use of a surgical safety checklist may prevent communication failures and reduce complications. Initial data from the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist (WHO SSC) demonstrated significant reductions in both morbidity and mortality with checklist implementation. A growing body of literature points out that while the physical act of "checking the box" may not necessarily prevent all adverse events, the checklist is a scaffold on which attitudes toward teamwork and communication can be encouraged and improved. Recent evidence reinforces the fact the compliance with the checklist is critical for the effects on patient safety to be realized.


Communication; Compliance; Surgical briefing; Surgical checklist; Surgical safety

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