Now standard practice in 70% of countries, the World Health Organization's “Surgical Safety Checklist”, was designed to reinforce safety practices and improve communication, has positively impacted mortality, morbidity, and clinical outcomes, according to a study by the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

The WHO checklist was designed to address processes before anaesthesia, before skin incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room. The study revealed that outcomes favouring the use of the checklist included reduced rates of surgical site infection, pneumonia, unplanned return to the operating room, urinary tract infection, blood loss requiring transfusion, unplanned intubation, and sepsis. Deep vein thrombosis was the only postoperative outcome assessed that did not decrease with the use of the WHO checklist, the study found.