The aim of this study was to evaluate the change in the healthcare providers' perceptions regarding the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist (WHO SSC) and patient safety in the operating room (OR) at a tertiary hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


This cross-sectional study was conducted at King Abdulaziz Medical City. Data were collected from two years (2011 and 2019) for comparison. The co-investigators distributed a self-administered Likert scale questionnaire in the various operating areas (35 ORs).


The total sample was 461. Number of participants enrolled from both years was 235 (51%) and 226 (49%), respectively. The results indicated a statistically significant difference in the attitude of the participants regarding all aspects of patient safety in the OR when the two periods were compared (p < 0.001). Similarly, healthcare providers' perceptions regarding the importance of the WHO SSC increased from 50% (2011) excellent to 68% excellent (2019) (p < 0.001).


Currently, more healthcare providers recognize the importance of the WHO SSC, and more have a positive attitude toward teamwork, communication, and feeling free to speak out when surgical safety is compromised. All of these cultural changes have positive impact on the overall safety of the OR; however, there are still aspects requiring improvement to provide a safer OR and surgery. Educational interventions regarding the importance of communication and teamwork would improve the safety of surgical care in the OR.

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