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Blue Surgical Safety Checklist

As a patient you have the right to expect safe and effective care. That's why many BCBS companies are encouraging hospitals to adopt the Blue Surgical Checklist.

What is the Checklist?

The Blue Surgical Safety ChecklistSM consists of 19 steps, many of which are widely accepted as routine practice in hospitals, though may not be used consistently or in their entirety. The checklist helps improve team communication and consistency of care, resulting in fewer complications associated with surgery.

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Download a PDF of the Checklist

Who Developed the Checklist?

The tool was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), a team of international experts in surgery, anesthesia, nursing, and patient safety. Every item on the checklist was selected to make surgeries safer, and each item included is important.

Has the Checklist Been Proven to Work?

WHO has studied the effectiveness of the Checklist, and the results are compelling as witnessed by a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The results show a significant reduction in complications among those hospitals that use the checklist versus those that do not, resulting in an improved ability to save patient lives and avoid unnecessary errors in the operating room.

Why is the Checklist Important?

Many hospitals and surgeons practice the safety steps listed on the Checklist most of the time. Yet, we have found there are opportunities to improve how consistently the steps on the Checklist are followed. The Checklist can help ensure that important safety steps are followed for each and every operation.

Why Do Surgeons Need a Safety Checklist?

Like so many work environments, surgical teams can have breakdowns in communication or teamwork that can impact the results of your surgery. Improving teamwork and communication among the healthcare team is one of the main goals of the checklist.

Why is Patient Safety a Priority?

Blue companies are committed to helping improve patient safety for their members. Patients and their loved ones should expect the necessary safety precautions are taken for every operation to eliminate avoidable complications. If you have questions related to patient safety, you can contact us.

How Can I Share My Own Patient Safety Story?

We hope that the Blue Surgical Safety Checklist is useful to you. The Checklist is the first in a series of Blue Safety Checklists that will support patient safety. Please send your thoughts, feedback and experiences to our e-mail address at Your feedback will help us help providers to improve the quality of care in your community and the safety of patients everywhere.