Surgical Safety Checklist (SSCL)

Patient safety remains the most important priority for St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital. Ensuring a safe experience for patients who undergo surgery here means all patients can expect safe, high quality care. One tool used to help ensure this positive patient care experience is a surgical safety checklist.

What is a Surgical Safety Checklist?

A Surgical Safety Checklist (SSCL) is a patient safety communication tool that is used by a team of operating room professionals (nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and others) to discuss important details about each surgical case. In many ways, the surgical checklist is similar to an airline pilot’s checklist used just before take-off. It is a final check prior to surgery used to make sure everyone knows the important medical information they need to know about the patient, all equipment is available and in working order and everyone is ready to proceed.

Operating room teams have used different types of checklists for many years. The three-phase SSCL has emerged as a useful best practice because it organizes the information at the right moments in time. It is a team communication tool used to inform all team members about important details regarding the patient and the surgery. It reduces reliance on memory so that one person is not responsible for remembering every single step needed for a safe surgery.

What information is included in a surgical safety checklist?

Some examples of items contained in the checklist:

The Briefing Phase:

  • Verify with patient name and procedure to be done
  • Allergy Check
  • Medications Check
  • Operation site, side and procedure
  • Lab tests, xrays

The "Time Out" Phase:

  • Patient position
  • Operation site and side and procedure
  • Antibiotics check

The Debriefing Phase:

  • Surgeon reviews important items
  • Anesthesiologist reviews important items
  • Nurse reviews correct counts

Will a surgical safety checklist be used on me?

If you undergo a surgery at STEGH, you can expect that the surgical safety checklist will be used as part of the procedure. It will be used by your health care team before, during and after your surgery to help the health care team familiarize themselves with your medical history and any special requirements that may be needed for your individual case.

If you have any questions about the information below please contact us.

Surgical Safety Checklist Compliance as reported to the Ministry

  July – Dec 2013
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 100%
  Jan – June 2013
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 100%
  July – Dec 2012
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 99.6%
  Jan – June 2012
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 100%
  July – Dec 2011
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 100%
  Jan – June 2011
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 100%
  July – Dec 2010
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 99.8%
  April – June 2010
Percentage compliance where all three phases (i.e., briefing, time-out and debriefing) of the SSCL were performed for all surgical procedures in that period. 99.30%

 

The percent compliance is calculated as follows:

# of times all three phases of the surgical safety checklist was performed x 100 = % compliance
Total Surgeries

The surgical safety checklist is considered "performed" when the designated checklist coordinator confirms that surgical team members have implemented and/or addressed all of the necessary tasks and items in each of the three phases: Briefing; Time Out; and Debriefing. Therefore, the SSCL compliance indicator is a process measure, measuring the degree to which all three phases of the SSCL was performed correctly and appropriately for each surgical patient.

The public reporting of our hospital’s SSCL percentage compliance allows hospitals to establish a baseline from which they can track their percentage compliance over time