Improvement of teamwork and safety climate following implementation of the WHO surgical safety checklist at a university hospital in Japan
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With the aim to optimize surgical safety, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced the Surgical Safety Checklist (SSCL) in 2008. The SSCL has been piloted in many countries worldwide and shown to improve both safety attitudes within surgical teams and patient outcomes. In the study reported here we investigated whether implementation of the SSCL improved the teamwork and safety climate at a single university hospital in Japan. All surgical teams at the hospital implemented the SSCL in all surgical procedures with strict adherence to the SSCL implementation manual developed by WHO. Changes in safety attitudes were evaluated using the modified operating-room version of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ). A before and after design was used, with the questionnaire administered before and 3 months after SSCL implementation. Our analysis revealed that the mean scores on the SAQ had significantly improved 3 months after implementation of the SSCL compared to those before implementation. This finding implies that effective implementation of the SSCL could improve patient outcomes in Japan, similar to the findings of the WHO pilot study.