The effectiveness of neurosurgical operating room (OR) checklists to improve communication, safety attitudes, and clinical outcomes is uncertain.
To develop, implement, and evaluate a post-operative neurosurgery operating room checklist.
Four large academic medical centers participated in this study. We developed an evidence-based checklist to be performed at the end of every adult-planned or emergent surgery in which all team members pause to discuss key elements of the case. We used a prospective interrupted time series study design to assess trends in clinical and cost outcomes. Safety attitudes and communication among OR providers were also assessed.
There were 11,447 neurosurgical patients in the preintervention and 10,973 in the postintervention periods. After implementation, survey respondents perceived that postoperative checklists were regularly performed, important issues were communicated at the end of each case, and patient safety was consistently reinforced. Observed to expected (O/E) overall mortality rates remained less than one, and 30-day readmission rate, length of stay index, direct cost index, and perioperative venous thromboembolism and hematoma rates remained unchanged as a result of checklist implementation.
A neurosurgical checklist can improve OR team communication; however, improvements in safety attitudes, clinical outcomes, and health system costs were not observed.