Surgical Safety

At UPMC, we do everything possible to prevent surgical complications. As part of our commitment to patient safety, we have adopted a pre-procedure safety checklist developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO checklist is used in every UPMC operating room, including outpatient surgical centers. The checklist identifies three phases of an operation:

  • Sign In — before anesthesia is used​
  • Time Out — before a surgeon begins the operation
  • Sign Out — before the patient leaves the operating room

In each phase, a checklist coordinator confirms that the surgery team has completed each task before proceeding with the operation.

  • Your involvement during the “sign in” process is crucial. You’ll be asked to describe your expectations and concerns, and verify who you are and the operation you are about to undergo. At this time, we will also review any lab results and imaging studies, and obtain your consent to proceed.
  • The “time out” phase is done immediately before the start of your operation or procedure. Everyone on our surgical team suspends other duties to actively confirm or re-confirm important information, such as your identity, procedure consent, procedure site, and other safety precautions based on your medical history.
  • The final “sign out” phase is completed before you leave the operating room. The goal of this step is to transfer important information to the team responsible for your care after surgery.

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