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Sustainable, Effective Implementation of a Surgical Preprocedural Checklist: An “Attestation” Format for All Operating Team Members

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Background: Adoption of a preprocedural pause (PPP) associated with a checklist and a team briefing has been shown to improve teamwork function in operating rooms (ORs) and has resulted in improved outcomes. The format of the World Health Organization Safe Surgery Saves Lives checklist has been used as a template for a PPP. Performing a PPP, described as a "time-out," is one of the three principal components, along with a preprocedure verification process and marking the procedure site, of the Joint Commission's Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, Wrong Person Surgery™. However, if the surgeon alone leads the pause, its effectiveness may be decreased by lack of input from other operating team members.

Methods: In this study, the PPP was assessed to measure participation and input from operating team members. On the basis of low participation levels, the pause was modified to include an attestation from each member of the team.

Results: Preliminary analysis of our surgeon-led pause revealed only 54% completion of all items, which increased to 97% after the intervention. With the new format, operating team members stopped for the pause in 96% of cases, compared with 78% before the change. Operating team members introduced themselves in 94% of cases, compared with 44% before the change. Follow-up analysis showed sustained performance at 18 months after implementation.

Conclusions: A preprocedural checklist format in which each member of the operating team provides a personal attestation can improve pause compliance and may contribute to improvements in the culture of teamwork within an OR. Successful online implementation of a PPP, which includes participation by all operating team members, requires little or no additional expense and only minimal formal coaching outside working situations.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-01-01

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