Digital WHO Surgical Safety Checklists

Conveniently use surgical safety checklists anytime

Promote the safety of patients through improved patient care

The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is a 19-item checklist used in operating rooms to reduce complications and patient deaths through improved communication and coordination among medical practitioners. Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), it was published in 2008 after an extensive study that involved hospitals in 8 countries.

The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was proven by multiple studies to help reduce post-operative death and morbidity and aid in promoting a culture of safety in surgical care. There are medical organizations that advocate its use and some even call for its mandatory enforcement after observing its impact in improving the safety of patients.

This article briefly discusses (1) the main sections of the WHO surgical safety checklist; (2) steps on implementing the use of surgical safety checklists; (3) technology to help medical professionals consistently use surgical safety checklists; and (4) free WHO surgical safety checklists.

Click here for the Digital WHO Surgical Safety Checklists

Designed to be applicable worldwide, the surgical safety checklist developed by the WHO is divided into 3 sections designed to be conducted at 3 specific points during operation.

1. Briefing

Done before the administration of anaesthesia, this 7-item section of the surgical safety checklist is to be conducted in the presence of at least the nurse and anaesthetist. The list of questions include confirmation of known allergies, airway or aspiration risk, and blood loss.

2. Time-out

To be conducted before skin incision and in the presence of the nurse, anaesthetist, and surgeon, this section specifies anticipated critical events and lists related questions to be answered by said medical professionals.

3. Debriefing

Done before the patient is allowed to leave the operating room, the nurse verbally confirms 4 items on the checklist. Finally, the surgeon, anaesthetist, and nurse confirms any key concerns regarding the recovery and management of the patient.

The importance of using a surgical safety checklist has already been established but there are still healthcare institutions that do not effectively implement its use in the operating room. Here are 5 steps to effectively integrate its use in your healthcare institution:

  1. Review the studies made on surgical safety checklists and understand the impact to patients.
  2. Get the buy-in of the medical professionals by presenting the studies and best practices in the medical field and mandate the use of surgical safety checklists in the healthcare institution.
  3. Perform internal audits to ensure that the surgical safety checklists are being used.
  4. Analyze the impact of the use/non-use of the surgical safety checklist in surgical care.
  5. Discuss the impact with the medical staff to reinforce the continued use of surgical safety checklists.

Surgical safety checklists should be readily available for the medical staff before an operation and easy to use in the operating room. iAuditor, the world’s most powerful mobile checklist app, can help healthcare providers easily answer surgical safety checklists anytime. With iAuditor on an iPad, smartphone, or other mobile device, you can:

  • Create and share mobile-ready surgical safety checklists.
  • Encourage medical professionals to complete quick checklists using mobile devices.
  • Save time with a mobile app that synchronizes the information as the checklist is being filled out.
  • Save all information in secure cloud storage. Preview a sample web and PDF report.
  • Analyze common issues and use the collected information to improve surgical safety.
  • Use for free with small medical teams. Unlimited reports and storage for premium accounts.

Here is a collection of our carefully prepared surgical safety checklists based on the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist. Browse and use these checklists to help reduce post-operative deaths and morbidity in your medical institution.

Surgical Safety Checklists

1. WHO Surgical Safety Checklist

This surgical safety checklist based on the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is divided into 3 sections—before administration of anaesthesia, before skin incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room. Use this surgical safety checklist to help reduce post-operative complications and patient deaths. With iAuditor, healthcare professionals can help accomplish the following:

  1. Reinforce surgical safety with the use of the checklist developed by the WHO.
  2. Save time because data is updated real-time.
  3. Analyze common answers and use the collected information to improve surgical safety in the healthcare institution.
  4. iAuditor digital templates can be edited to fit the needs of medical institutions.

2. Lista de verificación de la seguridad de la cirugía

Digitized from the Spanish surgical safety checklist of WHO, use this to help Spanish-speaking medical professionals during surgeries.


3. Liste de contrôle de la sécurité chirurgicale

Use this converted French surgical safety checklist for French-speaking medical professionals in the operating room.



5. Surgical Safety Checklist - Chinese (simplified)

This digitized Chinese (simplified) surgical safety checklist can be used by Chinese-speaking medical professionals anywhere in the world.


6. Surgical Safety Checklist - Arabic

Use this surgical safety checklist converted from the Arabic WHO Surgical Safety Checklist can be used by Arabic-speaking medical professionals during surgeries.


BONUS! Patient Satisfaction Survey

Use this patient satisfaction survey to determine the level of patient satisfaction and discover areas for improvement in patient care. Use iAuditor analytics to measure performance.