Increasing Completion Rate and Benefits of Checklists: Prospective Evaluation of Surgical Safety Checklists With Smart Glasses
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Background: Studies have demonstrated that surgical safety checklists (SSCs) can significantly reduce surgical complications and mortality rates. Such lists rely on traditional posters or paper, and their contents are generic regarding the type of surgery being performed. SSC completion rates and uniformity of content have been reported as modest and widely variable. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and potential of using smart glasses in the operating room to increase the benefits of SSCs by improving usability through contextualized content and, ideally, resulting in improved completion rates. Methods: We prospectively evaluated and compared 80 preoperative time-out events with SSCs at a major academic medical center between June 2016 and February 2017. Participants were assigned to either a conventional checklist approach (poster, memory, or both) or a smart glasses app running on Google Glass. Results: Four different surgeons conducted 41 checklists using conventional methods (ie, memory or poster) and 39 using the smart glasses app. The average checklist completion rate using conventional methods was 76%. Smart glasses allowed a completion rate of up to 100% with a decrease in average checklist duration of 18%. Conclusions: Compared with alternatives such as posters, paper, and memory, smart glasses checklists are easier to use and follow. The glasses allowed surgeons to use contextualized time-out checklists, which increased the completion rate to 100% and reduced the checklist execution time and time required to prepare the equipment during surgical cases.