A new study adds to the growing body of evidence that surgical safety checklists improve patient outcomes and quality of care across countries. But they only work if people use them, and implementation can be difficult in some complex health care systems, writes William Berry, principal research scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and chief medical officer at Ariadne Labs, and colleagues in a commentary published online with the new study in JAMA Surgery on February 3, 2016.

“A focus on systems of care and promotion of a culture of safety at the institutional level is necessary to optimize checklist implementation and realize its full potential,” the authors write.

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