Patient safety: The Surgical Safety Checklist

Cirujanos realizando una intervención quirúrgica utilizando la lista de verificación de la cirugía para garantizar la seguridad del paciente.

The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist dates back the World Alliance on Patient Safety, that was created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 to reduce the damage to the patient through safer surgical care.

Every two years, a new challenge is formulated with the aim of promoting the international commitment and action in a way that is related to the patient safety that poses an important risk to all the Member States of the WHO.

That’s how the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was created. It is a one-page list that healthcare professionals anywhere in the world can use to efficiently and quickly ensure compliance with safety standards before, during and after each surgery.

WHO Surgical Safety Checklist

The development of the checklist is based on three principles that must be met in order to successfully implement this tool:


A comprehensive list of standards and guidelines could improve patient safety, but its use and disclosure is hindered by staff resistance to make it part of their daily routine. As the WHO report mentions, “uncomplicated measures are the easiest to establish and can have profound effects in a wide range of environments.”

Wide range of application

The aim of this guide is to reach all parts of the globe, from the richest to the poorest in terms of resources, whether human or technological. Moreover, there are always regular failures that can be solved with common solutions, even without the latest medical technology.


It must be possible to measure the impact of the incorporation of the WHO list, with measurement instruments that are accessible and can be quantified. 

Each control measure in the checklist is based on clinical evidence and expert opinion that ensures that the inclusion of that measure reduces the probability of avoidable serious surgical harm and is not likely to result in injuries or very high costs.

Many of the individual measures are already common in centers around the world, although they are rarely fully complied with. The Checklist systematizes the essential safety measures to be followed by every surgical team, thus minimizing the most common avoidable risks that endanger the life and well-being of patients.

At Interlab, we work on the understanding of this tool and we have applied it to our system, where the entirety of the surgical instruments, gauzes, disposables, and medical devices are verified before, during and after the surgery, to finish with the verification protocol and the safe completion of the surgical procedure.

Contact us

To learn more about this feature of our management and traceability system for the patient health and safety, schedule a meeting with us here.