Cost benefit analysis of the surgical safety checklist

Gary Blick, Senior Managing Economist of Sapere and Martin Hefford undertook a cost benefit analysis of the WHO surgical safety checklist for the Health Quality & Safety Commission. The report concludes there is scope to make more consistent use of the surgical safety checklist within the New Zealand health system and that the cost of this intervention is likely to be low. Systematic use of the checklist is likely to lead to a net financial benefit to the publicly-funded health system under all credible assumptions examined.

These benefits arise from reduced hospital costs from avoided complications of surgical care. Such additional costs can take the form of a longer length of stay and additional surgical or medical procedures in response to the adverse event. Avoiding these costs may not result in immediately bankable savings, but would free up resources to be used for treating other patients.

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