“Listen mode” – a Surgical Checklist webinar



The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist launched in 2009. With its 10 year anniversary looming, some might say it isn’t ‘new’ any more.

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Safer surgery with the Checklist in an Armenian hospital

But systems change means culture change, and culture change is hard. When it comes to effecting the global revolution in safety that the pilot study proved possible – a 40% reduction in complications and mortality – even the Checklist’s founding family admit there’s a long way to go.

Luckily there’s also a lot of learning to go around, a growing number of experts more than willing to share, and collegial organisations like THET working to bring them together!

Lifebox grew directly out of the Checklist development, and we’re particularly lucky to have some original authors on our Boards (chaired by ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ author and surgeon Atul Gawande.)

Tom Weiser – Lifebox trustee and lead author of the landmark Checklist pilot study – is one such expert.

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Tom Weiser (second from left) with surgeons at Jimma University Teaching Hospital in Ethiopia

Last week he spoke on a webinar panel hosted by THET as part of their health partnerships presentation series, bringing partners and end users from around the world together online.

Tom was joined by fellow presenters Walt Johnson, WHO’s new Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Programme lead, and Ilona Johnston, Assistant International Adviser at the Royal College of Nursing.

Through personal, policy and programmatic experience – including Lifebox’s Checklist implementation work in Rwanda and newly launched pilots in Ethiopia and Cambodia, and the RCN’s partnership with ZUNO in Zambia – the panelists had a lot more to say than could fit an hour’s discussion.

“Is it too simplistic to take a Checklist from industry and apply it to surgery?” asked Andrew Jones, THET’s head of partnerships (announcing he’d be playing the part of devil’s advocate).

The simple answer is no, Tom Weiser made clear. The impact on team communication, in empowering staff to speak up, alongside the iterative quality improvement a long-term Checklist implementation brings to patient and provider, is profound.

That still doesn’t mean the bigger picture isn’t complicated.

Click below to listen in for yourself!