Effectiveness of the surgical safety checklist in correcting errors: A literature review applying reason's Swiss cheese model

Susan J. Collins, Robin Newhouse, Jody Porter, Akke Neel Talsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Approximately 2,700 patients are harmed by wrong-site surgery each year. The World Health Organization created the surgical safety checklist to reduce the incidence of wrong-site surgery. A project team conducted a narrative review of the literature to determine the effectiveness of the surgical safety checklist in correcting and preventing errors in the OR. Team members used Swiss cheese model of error by Reason to analyze the findings. Analysis of results indicated the effectiveness of the surgical checklist in reducing the incidence of wrong-site surgeries and other medical errors; however, checklists alone will not prevent all errors. Successful implementation requires perioperative stakeholders to understand the nature of errors, recognize the complex dynamic between systems and individuals, and create a just culture that encourages a shared vision of patient safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-79.e5
JournalAORN journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014



  • Checklists
  • Error prevention
  • Just culture
  • Medical errors
  • OR safety
  • Patient safety
  • Preventable adverse events
  • Surgical safety checklist
  • Swiss cheese model
  • Teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical–Surgical

Cite this