Dr. Giuseppe Papia, a Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon and Critical Care Medicine specialist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, wants to improve the quality of care for his patients, but also have a positive impact on the care received by patients that he will never meet. It is that philosophy that has driven his work a champion of the Safe Surgery Checklist as a critical safety tool for surgical patients.
Dr. Papia first developed a Safe Surgery Checklist for physicians at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; he was part of the implementation team when the checklist was adopted province-wide as one of the mandatory reporting indicators for Ontario hospitals. He then joined Safer Healthcare Now! faculty to roll out the Safe Surgery Saves Lives Surgical Checklist initiative. Dr. Papia is also the co-lead of the Safer Healthcare Now! Surgical Site Infection intervention.
Safe Surgery Saves Lives (SSSL) was established by the World Health Organization to improve the safety of surgery around the world. The Surgical Safety Checklist is a key part of this initiative because its impact extends beyond safe surgical processes to improvement in teamwork, communication, and culture to make every surgical experience a safe one. The three phases of a Safe Surgery Checklist include a briefing, time-out and de-briefing.
Dr. Papia would like to see use of the Safe Surgery Checklist mandatory across the country. “We have to reframe the conversation around patient-centred care,” says Dr. Papia. “Anything that is dictated top-down is the wrong approach. You need local champions working from the bottom up to promote the checklist as a communication tool with the aim to make the workflow better, the day more efficient and the patient outcome safer.”
Dr. Papia says high functioning teams have better outcomes. It takes less than two minutes to go through the checklist. It is a safety tool, but the individual items on the checklist are not the only component of the tool that creates the safety. The tool is used to increase communication and teambuilding and it is the teambuilding that happens that makes the operating room safer. For Dr. Papia, by far the most important thing a surgical team can do is to introduce themselves to each other by name and role prior to a surgical procedure.