The Surgical Safety Checklist Revisited

Adaptation of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist to High-Income Healthcare Setting – Phase III: Site Testing Study

University of Calgary, Alberta Children’s Hospital


The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist (SSC) was introduced back in 2008. It provides surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating room nurses, and other surgical personnel with checks and prompts for improving patient safety. The SSC covers three phases of the surgical experience: before anaesthesia, before incision, and before the patient leaves the room. Most hospitals use the SSC, but not all clinicians fully engage in the SSC’s performance or modify it to meet their operating room needs.

A Toolkit for the SSC

Our goal is to develop a toolkit, the High-Performance Checklist (HPC) Toolkit, for modifying the SSC and improving its use. This toolkit optimizes the SSC through the Explore, Prepare, Implement, and Sustain (EPIS) framework, which is based in implementation science.

Pilot testing of the HPC Toolkit

Surgical teams at the Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) will work through the HPC Toolkit and hold meetings for each EPIS stage. Patient partners will contribute to discussions at these meetings and will shape the development of a customized SSC for use at the PLC. At these meetings, our research team observes the discussion, take notes, and asks questions regarding the toolkit’s components.

Purpose of the Pilot

Since past studies show inconsistencies in the SSC’s use, we hope the HPC Toolkit stimulates improvements in their engagement with the checklist. Following this work, we hope to see a reduction in the rate of adverse events in surgical patients.

Roles and Responsibilities

Patient partners will attend meetings with the Implementation Team and bring additional perspective on patient safety and concerns. Because our research team observes the discussions, patient partners’ input will be collected as data, so they must sign an Informed Consent Form. All meeting discussions will be recorded.

The ideal candidate will have received surgery within the past three years.

Time Commitment

This 6-month project anticipates starting summer 2022. We estimate patient partners will participate in four 2-hour online meetings, over a 6-month period.


Patient partners will be offered $25/hour for their time and contribution. This will be in the form of a pre-paid gift card. This is an online opportunity, so there are no travel or other expenses currently anticipated with joining.

For more information or to apply:
Nathan Turley
Karolina Kogut

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Land Acknowledgment

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit operates on and acknowledges the lands that are the traditional and ancestral territory of many peoples, presently subject to Treaties 6, 7, and 8. Namely: the Blackfoot Confederacy – Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika – the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Stoney Nakoda, and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the Métis People of Alberta. This includes the Métis Settlements and the the Métis Nation of Alberta. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We make this acknowledgment as a reaffirmation of our shared commitment towards reconciliation, and as part of AbSPORU’s mandate towards fostering health system transformation.


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