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ASA: Patient Involvement Ups Surgical Safety Compliance

Patient awareness of a surgical safety checklist increases compliance

THURSDAY, Jan. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Making patients aware of a surgical safety checklist before surgery significantly increases compliance with the checklist, according to a study presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 2014, held from Jan. 24 to Jan. 26 in Dallas.

Seth Christian, M.D., M.B.A., from Tulane University in New Orleans, and colleagues compared compliance with the 2009 World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist in 104 patients undergoing surgery, where 61 were not informed of the checklist and 43 were informed of the checklist.

The researchers found that compliance was higher on all 26 checklist items for patients who were informed of the checklist. Compliance was significantly higher for 19 of the items, including confirming allergies, confirming surgical site, and reviewing sponge and instrument counts. A postoperative survey showed that, while only 35 percent of patients were aware of the checklist, 100 percent said that the checklist made them more comfortable going into surgery.

"The results of this pilot study indicate that empowering patients to participate in their own care may improve compliance with patient safety efforts, create a culture of safety, and ultimately improve the quality of care," Christian and colleagues conclude.

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