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      A qualitative study comparing experiences of the surgical safety checklist in hospitals in high-income and low-income countries

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          Abstract

          Objective

          Bold claims have been made for the ability of the WHO surgical checklist to reduce surgical morbidity and mortality and improve patient safety regardless of the setting. Little is known about how far the challenges faced by low-income countries are the same as those in high-income countries or different. We aimed to identify and compare the influences on checklist implementation and compliance in the UK and Africa.

          Design

          Ethnographic study involving observations, interviews and collection of documents. Thematic analysis of the data.

          Setting

          Operating theatres in one African university hospital and two UK university hospitals.

          Participants

          112 h of observations were undertaken. Interviews with 39 theatre and administrative staff were conducted.

          Results

          Many staff saw value in the checklist in the UK and African hospitals. Some resentment was present in all settings, linked to conflicts between the philosophy behind the checklist and the realities of local cultural, social and economic contexts. Compliance—involving use, completeness and fidelity—was considerably higher, though not perfect, in the UK settings. In these hospitals, compliance was supported by established structures and systems, and was not significantly undermined by major resource constraints; the same was not true of the low-income context. Hierarchical relationships were a major barrier to implementation in all settings, but were more marked in the low-income setting. Introducing a checklist in a professional environment characterised by a lack of accountability and transparency could make the staff feel jeopardised legally, professionally, and personally, and it encouraged them to make misleading records of what had actually been done.

          Conclusions

          Surgical checklist implementation is likely to be optimised, regardless of the setting, when used as a tool in multifaceted cultural and organisational programmes to strengthen patient safety. It cannot be assumed that the introduction of a checklist will automatically lead to improved communication and clinical processes.

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          Most cited references19

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          Effect of a comprehensive surgical safety system on patient outcomes.

          Adverse events in patients who have undergone surgery constitute a large proportion of iatrogenic illnesses. Most surgical safety interventions have focused on the operating room. Since more than half of all surgical errors occur outside the operating room, it is likely that a more substantial improvement in outcomes can be achieved by targeting the entire surgical pathway. We examined the effects on patient outcomes of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary surgical safety checklist, including items such as medication, marking of the operative side, and use of postoperative instructions. The checklist was implemented in six hospitals with high standards of care. All complications occurring during admission were documented prospectively. We compared the rate of complications during a baseline period of 3 months with the rate during a 3-month period after implementation of the checklist, while accounting for potential confounders. Similar data were collected from a control group of five hospitals. In a comparison of 3760 patients observed before implementation of the checklist with 3820 patients observed after implementation, the total number of complications per 100 patients decreased from 27.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 25.9 to 28.7) to 16.7 (95% CI, 15.6 to 17.9), for an absolute risk reduction of 10.6 (95% CI, 8.7 to 12.4). The proportion of patients with one or more complications decreased from 15.4% to 10.6% (P<0.001). In-hospital mortality decreased from 1.5% (95% CI, 1.2 to 2.0) to 0.8% (95% CI, 0.6 to 1.1), for an absolute risk reduction of 0.7 percentage points (95% CI, 0.2 to 1.2). Outcomes did not change in the control hospitals. Implementation of this comprehensive checklist was associated with a reduction in surgical complications and mortality in hospitals with a high standard of care. (Netherlands Trial Register number, NTR1943.).
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            Global operating theatre distribution and pulse oximetry supply: an estimation from reported data.

            Surgery is an essential part of health care, but resources to ensure the availability of surgical services are often inadequate. We estimated the global distribution of operating theatres and quantified the availability of pulse oximetry, which is an essential monitoring device during surgery and a potential measure of operating theatre resources. We calculated ratios of the number of operating theatres to hospital beds in seven geographical regions worldwide on the basis of profiles from 769 hospitals in 92 countries that participated in WHO's safe surgery saves lives initiative. We used hospital bed figures from 190 WHO member states to estimate the number of operating theatres per 100,000 people in 21 subregions throughout the world. To estimate availability of pulse oximetry, we sent surveys to anaesthesia providers in 72 countries selected to ensure a geographically and demographically diverse sample. A predictive regression model was used to estimate the pulse oximetry need for countries that did not provide data. The estimated number of operating theatres ranged from 1·0 (95% CI 0·9-1·2) per 100,000 people in west sub-Saharan Africa to 25·1 (20·9-30·1) per 100,000 in eastern Europe. High-income subregions all averaged more than 14 per 100,000 people, whereas all low-income subregions, representing 2·2 billion people, had fewer than two theatres per 100,000. Pulse oximetry data from 54 countries suggested that around 77,700 (63,195-95,533) theatres worldwide (19·2% [15·2-23·9]) were not equipped with pulse oximeters. Improvements in public-health strategies and monitoring are needed to reduce disparities for more than 2 billion people without adequate access to surgical care. WHO. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Surgical adverse events: a systematic review.

              The aim of this systematic review is to quantify potentially preventable patient harm from the frequency, severity, and preventability of the consequences and causes of surgical adverse events to help target patient safety improvement efforts. Two authors independently reviewed articles retrieved from systematic searches of the Cochrane library, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature databases for inclusion and exclusion criteria, methodology, and end points. All retrospective record review studies of adverse events were included. The primary end point was the frequency of general surgery adverse events. The secondary end points were the severity and preventability of consequences and causes. Fourteen record review studies incorporating 16,424 surgical patients were included. Adverse events occurred in 14.4% of patients (interquartile range [IQR], 12.5% to 20.1%), and potentially preventable adverse events occurred in 5.2% (IQR, 4.2% to 7.0%). The consequences of 3.6% of adverse events (IQR, 3.1% to 4.4%) were fatal, those of 10.4% (IQR, 8.5% to 12.3%) were severe, those of 34.2% (IQR, 29.2% to 39.2%) were moderate, and those of 52.5% (IQR, 49.8% to 55.3%) were minor. Errors in nonoperative management caused more frequent adverse events than errors in surgical technique. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                bmjopen
                bmjopen
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2044-6055
                2013
                14 August 2013
                : 3
                : 8
                : e003039
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester , Leicester, UK
                [2 ]Nuffield Department of Surgical Science, University of Oxford , Oxford, UK
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Emma-Louise Aveling; eea5@ 123456le.ac.uk
                Article
                bmjopen-2013-003039
                10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003039
                3752057
                23950205
                be8864e0-dc5b-4601-a201-22399c7491f2
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

                History
                : 15 April 2013
                : 5 July 2013
                : 15 July 2013
                Categories
                Surgery
                Research
                1506
                1737
                1725
                1704

                Medicine
                health services administration & management,qualitative research,surgery
                Medicine
                health services administration & management, qualitative research, surgery

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