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Systematic review
Surgical safety checklists are an effective means for reducing surgical morbidity and mortality, but have we gone far enough in team-building and leadership to create high reliability?
  1. James Forrest Calland
  1. University of Virginia School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to James Forrest Calland
    MD, FACS, Box 800709 - Dept. Of Surgery, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA; calland{at}

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Borchard et al1 have ambitiously reviewed the scientific literature to discern the pooled evidence supporting the use of perioperative surgical safety checklists to improve the safety of operative procedures. In addition, the authors have sought to discern the evidence for engagement of the entire operative team in the process. To date, this has been lacking in the scientific literature, and is perhaps a major weakness in the way that checklists have been implemented.


The authors examined all published trials and cohort studies that investigated the use of checklists between 1995 and 2011. The authors then hand-sorted and referenced the initial hits from their online query to find …

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  • Competing interests None.