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SafetyCulture launches surgical checklist

Townsville startup SafetyCulture has launched an addition to its iAuditor application that provides medical professionals with surgical safety checklists. The list was developed under the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) as part of its global initiative ‘Safe Surgery Saves Lives’ that aims to reduce the number of surgical deaths worldwide.

SafetyCulture began developing the checklist after being contacted by anaesthetists who were already using iAuditor, and who were aware of the WHO push for surgical safety checklists to be implemented.

“There is strong evidence that says checklists can save lives,” SafetyCulture CEO Luke Anear said. “When we came across the research WHO unearthed we were eager to find a way to assist.”

Surgical safety is considered a huge issue to patient safety, particularly in developing areas. A 2010 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the use of a surgical safety checklist significantly reduced patient mortality rates.

The WHO-developed surgical safety checklist has been used in all British NHS (National Health Service) organisations since 2010. WHO estimated that global implementation of these checklists could prevent half a million deaths per year.

iAuditor is currently being used in several healthcare facilities to develop safety frameworks, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Oklahoma Heart Hospital, UCMC Hospital and Orlando Health.

“Checklists provide simple standards and iAuditor can be used on any Smartphone device,” Anear said. “It’s easier, cheaper and faster to do it digitally.”

Anear believes the accessibility and availability of the digital checklist will not only assist in surgical settings, but improve knowledge of surgical safety.

“iAuditor makes the checklist intelligent so information can be aggregated and trends identified,” he said. “Not only what can be improved, but also what is working well.”

SafetyCulture has incorporated the World Health Organisation's Surgical Safety Checklist into its latest edition of iAuditor. Images: SafetyCulture

SafetyCulture has incorporated the World Health Organisation’s Surgical Safety Checklist into its latest addition to iAuditor. Images: SafetyCulture

Townsville-based Gynaecologist and Urogynaecologist Professor Ajay Rane has seen the benefit of medical checklists in both small practices and large, institutional settings.

According to Rane, checklists are, “a vital resource for low resource setting hospital. They are cheap, reproducible, and empower all levels of staff.”

“Large institutional settings have an ‘impersonal’ aspect to them with transient staff and more barriers,” Rane said. “A checklist culture bridges quite a lot of these barriers helping the team care of the patient.”

Anear hopes the digital surgical safety checklist will eventually be implemented on a global scale, including underdeveloped areas.

“Whether be a medical manufacturing process or maintaining hygiene in hospital toilets, the best tool for maintaining high standards is the checklist,” Anear said.

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