In September 2009, the Government of Ontario announced another tool to further its goal of improving patient safety in Ontario hospitals – the surgical safety checklist (SSC).

The surgical safety checklist is a one-page list of 26 of the most common tasks and items that operating room teams carry out to ensure patient safety.

Major areas of evaluation within the checklist include:

1. Briefing– Before induction of anaesthesia
2. Time out– Before skin incision
3. Debriefing – Before patient leaves the operating room

The Ministry of Health has identified the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) Surgical Safety Checklist as the checklist to be adopted by all hospitals. GRH partnered with St. Mary’s General Hospital (SMGH) to implement the checklist (click to view the PDF file of the checklist) early in January 2010.

Originally developed as a tool to support patient care though professional preparation and teamwork, the consistent use of this checklist has been shown to reduce the rates of death and complications associated with surgical care.

GRH’s surgical safety checklist compliance rates since the checklist came into effect is outlined below:

Time periodResult
April-June 201099.8%
July-September 201099.7%
November-December 201099.8%
January-June 2011
July-December 2011
January-June 2012 99.7%
July-December 2012
January-June 2013 99.96%
July to December 2013100%
January to June 201499.84%
July to December 201499.96%
January to June 201599.92%