Meta-analysis of surgical safety checklist effects on teamwork, communication, morbidity, mortality, and safety

West J Nurs Res. 2014 Feb;36(2):245-61. doi: 10.1177/0193945913505782. Epub 2013 Sep 25.


The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of surgical safety checklists on teamwork, communication, morbidity, mortality, and compliance with safety measures through meta-analysis. Four meta-analyses were conducted on 19 studies that met the inclusion criteria. The effect size of checklists on teamwork and communication was 1.180 (p = .003), on morbidity and mortality was 0.123 (p = .003) and 0.088 (p = .001), respectively, and on compliance with safety measures was 0.268 (p < .001). The results indicate that surgical safety checklists improve teamwork and communication, reduce morbidity and mortality, and improve compliance with safety measures. This meta-analysis is limited in its generalizability based on the limited number of studies and the inclusion of only published research. Future research is needed to examine possible moderating variables for the effects of surgical safety checklists.

Keywords: checklist; communication; morbidity; mortality; safety; surgery; surgical safety; teamwork.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Mortality*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*