Surgeries are the essential component of health care worldwide. Surgical interventions play a major role in helping to prevent death and chronic disability for those suffering from traumatic injuries, cancers, obstetrical complications, cardiovascular disease, and many other emergency conditions. As these emergency conditions continue to rise, the importance of surgical intervention grows as well.
Despite the positive impact the surgical intervention can have on a patient's health, the surgery itself carries significant risk. It is estimated that over 7 million people worldwide will suffer complications following surgery, and one million of them will die as a result.
This is why the safety of the patients who undergo surgery remains one of the most important priorities for healthcare teams. A tool that is most commonly used to ensure a positive patient experience is a surgical safety checklist.
And it all started back in 2007 when World Health Organization (WHO) launched an initiative to improve the safety of patients undergoing surgical procedures. Experts all around the world gathered around this initiative, came up with the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, which helps ensure that important safety steps are reliably followed for each and every operation.
Using safety checklists became more convenient thanks to the numerous mobile apps, which are mostly based on WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, as we mentioned in our article about best medical apps for surgeons, surgical technicians, and assistants.
One of those apps is CheckAid app we review today. This app is a simple, portable tool for implementing checklists before, during and after surgical procedures. It brings standardized checklists provided by institutions at the point of care.
The app opens to an empty screen, requiring users to load checklists. This can be done by simply tapping on plus icon and select from the available checklists. Currently, the number of checklists available in the app is quite limited. There's only 15 checklists, four of them coming from Grey Base Hospital and the rest of Seattle Children's Hospital.
The developers, however, claimed that there would be more checklists to come, which depends on the ability of other institutions and of course their willingness to formulate a standardized set of checklists.
No checklist is imported tho. Luckily, it can be done in less than a second, just tap on Load and the checklist will be available. However, an Internet connection is required for importing the checklists. Once downloaded, the checklists will be available on the main screen and can be utilized offline.
Each checklist has an info button next to its name, which provides more details about the owner, current version, last update, as well as how many sublists and items it contains.
To open a checklist simply tap on it from the main screen. This would take you to the new screen that contains subtopics and items for each checklist. For example, if you opened "Anesthesia Setup" from Gray Base Hospital, you'd see five categories, including Equipment, Drugs, Patient, Team, and Monitor. Similarly, other checklists contain their own subcategories, which differ from the others.
Each of the categories/sublists shows the number of relevant items it contains. You can reveal the items by tapping on the category. Once you see all items listed, you can tap the box beside each to check off a task. If you don't want to check each task (of if there's no need for that), you can switch to 'Check Mode', which enables you to skip the items you do not want to check. Enabling this option also allows you to add notes from the bottom of the screen explaining why you skipped the particular item.
Once all the items in a list are checked, the list is marked 'Complete' and is displayed as checked off on the main screen. To start again, you can simply reset a list by tapping on the circle arrow icon in the top-right.
CheckAid app sync across your devices thanks to the iCloud integration. This, however, requires an Internet connection, same as checklist updates that happen automatically. The size of these updates and syncing isn't big, however, users may consider enabling WiFi to avoid costs.
The app also provides Search feature to easily find checklists or the particular institution, but until there's more of them, it's unnecessary.
There is no option for users to create their own checklists in CheckAid app. To do so, users need to contact the app support and request their checklist is added to the list. This is the first drawback of this app. The app also suffers from other problems, such as the lack of procedure and diagnosis checklists, inability to assign a checklist to a patient or to share them with your colleagues, and the biggest flaw is that CheckAid app isn't available for Android.
This is a pity, because the app has huge potential to become the ultimate checklist app, but only if those things are fixed or added.
Benefit: The app is intended for surgeons, anesthesiologists, surgical technicians and assistants, nurses and other healthcare providers involved in the surgical procedure.