The checklist identifies three phases of an operation: before the induction of anesthesia, before the incision of the skin, and before the patient leaves the operating room. In each phase, a checklist coordinator confirms that the surgery team has completed each task before proceeding with the operation.
There are various versions of the WHO checklist, adapted by various organizations around the world. Some are adapted to account for local practices, others for specialized situations. Several offer applications for hand-held devices.
Both the California Hospital Patient Safety Organization and the California Hospital Association (CHA) consider the improvement of surgical safety as essential to public health and endorse the concept of the “WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.”
World-wide, about 234,000,000 major operations are performed every year. From those procedures, over 7,000,000 people experience disabling complications, and more than 1,000,000 die.
Surgical care is complex and involves dozens of steps that must be optimized for individual patients. In order to effectively minimize unnecessary loss of life and serious complications, operative teams have 10 basic and essential objectives in any surgical case, which the WHO Safe Surgery Guidelines aim to support: