Patient safety

Patient safety checklists

The purpose of a checklist is to detect a potential error before it leads to harm.

Human error in the complex world of modern medicine is inevitable. Harm to patients as the result of these errors is not. Checklists allow complex pathways of care to function with high reliability by giving users the opportunity to pause and take stock of their actions before proceeding to the next step. The WHO Surgical Safety checklist and others have improved reliability and helped to standardize care for thousands of individuals globally.

What we are doing

WHO Patient Safety is currently putting together a framework for identifying a range of clinical care processes where checklists would save patient lives and reduce serious harm. WHO Patient Safety, with help from other collaborating departments within WHO, is already developing additional patient care checklists over a range of disciplines, including labor & delivery, neonatal and trauma care.

  • Surgical safety checklist
    The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist has significantly improved compliance with standards and decreased complications from surgery in eight pilot hospitals where it was evaluated.
  • Safe childbirth checklist
    The Pilot Edition of the Safe Childbirth Checklist supports health-care workers to adhere to essential, evidence-based practices that promote safe delivery for mothers and babies.
  • Trauma care checklist
    UNDER DEVELOPMENT - A checklist that includes components of injury assessment and initial management steps for the care of trauma patients.
  • Pandemic H1N1 clinical checklist
    The WHO Pandemic H1N1 2009 clinical checklist is intended for use by hospital staff treating a patient with a medically suspected or confirmed case of Pandemic H1N1 2009.