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Incorporating the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist into Practice at Two Hospitals in Liberia

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Abstract:

Background: The impact of the World Health Organization's Patient Safety Programme's 19-item Surgical Safety Checklist on surgical processes and outcomes was assessed in 2008–2009 at two hospitals in the resource-limited setting of Liberia.

Methods: In the preintervention phase, data were prospectively collected on surgical processes and outcomes from 232 consecutively enrolled patients who were undergoing surgery. In the postintervention phase, data were collected on 249 consecutively enrolled patients after the introduction of the Surgical Safety Checklist. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the adjusted association between the introduction of the checklist and surgical process and outcome measures. These analyses were conducted among the pooled data, as well as for data stratified by hospital.

Results: The introduction of the checklist was associated with significant (p < 0.05) improvements in terms of overall surgical processes and surgical outcomes. The stratified analysis presented a more nuanced result by hospital. In Hospital 1, the checklist was significantly associated with improved adherence to the composite measure of surgical processes but was not associated with improved surgical outcomes. In contrast, in Hospital 2, it was significantly associated with improved surgical outcomes but was not associated with improved adherence to the composite measure of surgical processes.

Conclusions: Although the implementation of a surgical safety checklist in Liberia was associated with significant improvements in processes and outcomes overall, differences at the hospital level suggest that the checklist's mechanism of improvement may be influenced by the availability of resources needed to complete recommended processes, variation in team functioning, and organizational context.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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