April 25, 2014

Providence physician leads effort for surgical safety checklists in South Carolina

As the American College of Surgeons (ACS) governor-at-large for South Carolina, Providence Hospitals Staff Surgeon Chad Rubin, M.D., is helping lead an initiative to implement surgical safety checklists into each operating room across the state. The ACS estimates the initiative will save 500 lives, prevent 2,000 complications and cut health care costs by $28 million annually.

The ACS, Safe Surgery 2015 and the S.C. Hospital Association recently hosted the ACS Surgical Health Care Quality Forum South Carolina, where the goal was introduced. The ACS chose South Carolina to lead the project because of the S.C. Hospital Association’s 2009 Operation: Safe Surgery initiative, which led to 80 percent of the hospitals in the state with surgical services implementing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) surgical safety checklist in at least one operating room.

The new goal calls for customizing the WHO checklist to each facility’s workflow and culture to enhance team communication and, eventually, better patient safety outcomes.

“The use of this checklist and the team collaboration surrounding its implementation inside the OR is a great example of how a focus on possible pitfalls or roadblocks can prevent problems and lead to a safer environment,” said Dr. Rubin, who also served host of the ACS forum. “It isn't that 'the checklist prevented this many infections,' it is more the checklist led to better team communication, less confusion in the OR, and ultimately greater patient safety.”

Providence Hospitals is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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