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Checklists reduce postop complications

Article-Checklists reduce postop complications

Hartford, Conn. — Surgical checklists and communications team training can reduce costly postoperative complications, a recent study suggests.

Investigators with University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, reviewed data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program to compare 2,079 historical control cases, 246 cases with team training and 73 cases with team training and a surgical checklist, reports.

Communications training included three sessions on topics such as effective dialogue among operating room personnel and how to use a surgical checklist. Surgical teams that had no communications training and didn’t use a checklist had more than 23 percent of procedures resulting in postoperative complications within 30 days. Complications included surgical site infections and deep vein thrombosis.

About 16 percent of the procedures by teams who had communications training only resulted in complications within 30 days. Among the teams who had communications training and a checklist, 8.2 percent of the procedures resulted in complications.

“Adoption of a comprehensive checklist is feasible with team training intervention and can produce measurable improvements in patient outcomes,” study authors noted in the abstract.

The study was published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

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