Surgical checklists, like the one developed by the World Health Organization, are highly recommended to help reduce the risk of surgical errors and complications. However according to a new study, surgical checklists are often not used properly, or not used at all. Noncompliance is a huge problem in the healthcare industry and as a result, patients are frequently exposed to the risk of serious or fatal errors.
According to a study that was conducted by researchers from the Columbia University School of Nursing, many hospitals don't even have a surgical checklist to prevent infections, while those that do implement checklists are unable to make sure that these are being followed completely. As many as one in 10 hospital Intensive Care Units did not implement the checklist for the prevention of central line-associated blood stream infections. These are potentially fatal infections that result from the contamination of the central lines that are used to deliver nutrition and drugs to a patient in an ICU. One in four hospitals did not even have a checklist for preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia, which is one of the most common fatal hospital-acquired infections. Even when the hospital did have a checklist, the checklists were only followed approximately 50% of the time.