WHO pilot study proves impact of Checklist and oximetry in low-resource settings

Lifebox improves the quality and safety of surgical care in low-resource settings through the provision of pulse oximeters and training

Lifebox improves the quality and safety of surgical care in low-resource settings through the provision of pulse oximeters and training in the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.

While the impact of the Checklist to reduce surgical morbidity and mortality has been studied at length in a number of countries, its impact and success in a low-resource environment without basic resources has been unknown.

So we are delighted to report that results of a WHO pilot study both emphatically confirm the capacity of these two healthcare interventions to make the operating theatre safer in a low-resource setting, and demonstrate that they can successfully be introduced.

Implementation of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist, Including Introduction of Pulse Oximetry, in a Resource-Limited Setting, published November 30th in the Annals of Surgery, shows consistent reduction in complications, infection and hypoxia in the operating theatre.

The authors of  the study, which was conducted at a hospital in Moldova, Eastern Europe, found that the Checklist and pulse oximetry:

– reduced the rate of complications from 21.5% to 8.8%

– reduced infection complications from 17.7% to 6.7%

– reduced the number of hypoxic episodes from 11.5% to 6.4%

These dramatic improvements, along with a 0-66% jump in adherence to the Checklist, prove that it is possible to develop a culture of safety in a low-resource setting to long-term, life-saving effect.