Implementation of the WHO Trauma Care Checklist: A qualitative analysis of facilitators and barriers to use

Int J Surg. 2020 Nov:83:15-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2020.08.050. Epub 2020 Sep 12.


Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) Trauma Care Checklist (TCC) has been documented to improve care of the injured. Factors that promote TCC use have not been well evaluated. We sought to identify barriers and facilitators affecting TCC use.

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted by interviewing regional leaders and health care providers at hospitals where the initial WHO TCC pilot study had been conducted in 2010-2012. Study participants included trauma system directors, surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, nurses, and house staff in nine countries. Interview transcripts were thematically analyzed in Dedoose software using deductive and inductive coding strategies incorporating elements of grounded theory.

Results: Eighteen participants representing nine of the 11 original pilot sites were interviewed, including 14 doctors and four nurses. Participants represented departments of trauma/trauma surgery (n = 13) and emergency medicine (n = 5). Three sites continued to use the TCC in a nearly original form; three sites used a significantly modified version; and the remaining three sites no longer used it. The most commonly identified facilitator of TCC use was endorsement at both the front-line provider and institutional/leadership level (n = 7). Personnel-related issues and resistance from individual providers were the most commonly identified barriers (n = 10).

Conclusion: Presence of an institutional champion, context-specific adaptation, and integration of the TCC with existing care and documentation practices contribute to successful utilization. Personnel constraints such as revolving trainees and resistance from individual providers hinder utilization. To improve TCC uptake, participants also recommended that TCC be more closely integrated with courses such as Advanced Trauma Life Support.

Keywords: Low- and middle-income countries; Surgical checklists; Trauma care.

MeSH terms

  • Checklist*
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Qualitative Research*
  • World Health Organization
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*