Use of a surgical safety checklist after implementation in an academic veterinary hospital

William T.G. Hawker, Ameet Singh, Thomas W.G. Gibson, Michelle A. Giuffrida, J. Scott Weese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the use and barriers to uptake of a surgical safety checklist (SSC) after implementation in a veterinary teaching hospital. Study design: Voluntary online survey and retrospective study. Sample population: All personnel actively involved in the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre small animal surgery service between October 2, 2018 and June 28, 2019. Methods: Surgical case logs and electronically initiated SSC were reviewed to calculate checklist use. The sample population was surveyed to identify factors and barriers associated with use of the SSC. Participants were allowed 1 month to respond, and five reminder emails were sent. Results: Forth-one of 50 (82%) participants completed the survey. The SSC was used in 374 of 784 (47.7%) surgeries. Use rates declined over sequential three-month intervals (P <.0001). Twenty-six of 41 (63%) respondents overestimated checklist use. Staff attitudes were largely supportive of the SSC, with 29 of 41 respondents suggesting mandatory application. Forgetfulness, hierarchal concerns, timing issues, perceived delays in care, lack of clarity regarding roles, and inadequate training were identified as obstacles to use of the SSC. Conclusion: The SCC tested in this study was used in approximately half of the surgical procedures performed after its implementation. Hospital personnel were supportive of the SSC; forgetting to use the SSC was the most common barrier identified by respondents (24/41 [59%]). Clinical significance: The SSC implementation experience and user feedback described here should be taken into consideration to improve design and implementation of future SSC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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