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Checklists, Surgical Timeout, Briefing, and Debriefing: Safety in the Operating Room

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Operating rooms consist of high-stress, complex environments, which creates a propensity for serious errors. In order to improve patient safety, several strategies can be implemented. By executing a timeout before and after the planned procedure, one can significantly decrease the number of wrong site surgeries and retained foreign bodies. In addition, checklists help remind a team of people of the minimum, routine steps required and can help close the loop in communication and verify that pivotal jobs have indeed been completed. Briefing and debriefing can also help to improve the communication of the surgical team by setting expectations and verifying that everyone understands the planned strategy for the day. This small investment of time and energy has the potential to prevent devastating complications.


  • Surgical timeout
  • Briefing
  • Debriefing
  • Surgical checklist
  • Patient safety

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Correspondence to Amelia T. Collings .

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Collings, A.T., Stefanidis, D. (2022). Checklists, Surgical Timeout, Briefing, and Debriefing: Safety in the Operating Room. In: Romanelli, J.R., Dort, J.M., Kowalski, R.B., Sinha, P. (eds) The SAGES Manual of Quality, Outcomes and Patient Safety. Springer, Cham.

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