Safe Surgery Checklist

Surgery SCN

In 2008, the World Health Organization developed a surgery checklist aimed at improving patient safety in the operating room by reducing complications associated with surgical procedures.

Following an international pilot study that showed use of the safe surgery checklist resulted in decreased morbidity and mortality in surgical patients, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and a national working group adapted the WHO checklist into a Canadian version.

The Safe Surgery Checklist (SSC) is designed to assist surgical teams to reduce the number of preventable surgical complications, improve efficiency and further improve surgical outcomes for patients. Use of an approved AHS surgical checklist is a requirement for accreditation.

The SSC helps focus the entire team on patient safety at three critical stages, or phases, during the surgical procedure or intervention:

  • Before induction of anesthesia - BRIEFING
  • Before skin incision - TIME OUT
  • Before patient leaves operating room – DEBRIEFING

Safe Surgery Checklist

Compliance Measurement and Reporting

The use of the Safe Surgery Checklist is tracked across the province and quarterly reports are produced. Safe Surgery Checklist Auditors in place at each site complete observational audits which form the basis of the quarterly compliance reports.

AHS staff who want to take the Auditor Training, please visit My Learning Link Insite.

Quick Reference


Resources & Training

Some tools to help sites promote the use of the SSC: