Evaluation and Customization of WHO Safety Checklist for Patient Safety in Otorhinolaryngology

Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Mar;70(1):149-155. doi: 10.1007/s12070-018-1253-3. Epub 2018 Jan 30.


The WHO has designed a safe surgery checklist to enhance communication and awareness of patient safety during surgery and to minimise complications. WHO recommends that the check-list be evaluated and customised by end users as a tool to promote safe surgery. The aim of present study was to evaluate the impact of WHO safety checklist on patient safety awareness in otorhinolaryngology and to customise it for the speciality. A prospective structured questionnaire based study was done in ENT operating room for duration of 1 month each for cases, before and after implementation of safe surgery checklist. The feedback from respondents (surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists) was used to arrive at a customised checklist for otolaryngology as per WHO guidelines. The checklist significantly improved team member's awareness of patient's identity (from 17 to 86%) and each other's identity and roles (from 46 to 94%) and improved team communication (from 73 to 92%) in operation theatre. There was a significant improvement in preoperative check of equipment and critical events were discussed more frequently. The checklist could be effectively customised to suit otolaryngology needs as per WHO guidelines. The modified checklist needs to be validated by otolaryngology associations. We conclude from our study that the WHO Surgical safety check-list has a favourable impact on patient safety awareness, team-work and communication of operating team and can be customised for otolaryngology setting.

Keywords: Customised checklist; Otolaryngology; Safe surgery; WHO checklist.