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Volume 23 Supplement 2

London Trauma Conference 2014

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Could the implementation of a trauma checklist improve quality of care?


Medical error in trauma care remains common [1]. Checklists are a cognitive aid that can be employed to standardise practice and minimise error. Their usage is ubiquitous in other high-intensity professions, such as aviation. Following the success of the World Health Organisation's surgical safety checklist they are now in the process of developing a trauma care checklist. My aim was to evaluate whether a checklist could be applied to the trauma setting to facilitate high quality, standardised care.


  1. 1.

    Audit the prevalence of human factors during trauma calls in a major trauma centre in the UK

  2. 2.

    Literature review of the use of checklists in medicine


  • At least one incidence of negative human factors affecting trauma team performance was observed during each trauma call with the average incidence being three times per resuscitation.

  • Evidence suggests that poor communication is the leading cause of medical error. This was corroborated by my audit findings.

  • A review of literature shows that checklists in are effective tools for standardising care by reducing error and improving compliance with guidelines [2].


It is essential that organisational safety culture is addressed and the subject of human error is acknowledged to improve care provision and enhance patient safety. Checklists represent a promising method of tackling this issue that should be used synergistically with existing management strategies.


  1. Cooper DJ, McDermott FT, Cordner SM, Tremayne AB: “Quality assessment of the management of road traffic fatalities at a level I trauma center compared with other hospitals in Victoria, Australia. Consultatitive Committee on Road Traffic Fatalities in Victoria.”. J Trauma. 1998, 45 (4): 772-779. 10.1097/00005373-199810000-00027.

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  2. Thomassen O, et al: “The effects of safety checklists in medicine: a systematic review.”. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2013, 58 (1): 5-18.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Ashton.

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Ashton, E. Could the implementation of a trauma checklist improve quality of care?. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med 23 (Suppl 2), A13 (2015).

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