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