For over a decade, the preoperative timeout procedure has been implemented in most paediatric surgery units. However, the impact of this intervention has not been systematically studied. This study from Muensterer et al. evaluates whether purposefully introduced errors during the timeout routine are detected and reported by the operating team members.
The study found that errors in the timeout routine go unnoticed by the team in almost half of cases. Therefore, even if preoperative timeout routines are strictly implemented, mistakes may be overlooked. Hence, the timeout procedure in its current form appears unreliable. Future developments may be useful to improve the quality of the surgical timeout and should be studied in detail.