Checklists Save Lives
Posted on January 17, 2009 Comments (3)
Checklists are a simple quality tool that have been used widely for decades. Pilots use them, without fail, to save lives. Some surgeons have been using them and the evidence is mounting that checklists can save many more lives if more in health care use them. Studies Show Surgeons Could Save Lives, $20B by Using Checklists
If all hospitals used the same checklist, they could save tens of thousands of lives and $20 billion in medical costs each year, says author Atul Gawande, a surgeon and associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
In his study, which was funded by the World Health Organization, hospitals reduced their rate of death after surgery from 1.5% to 0.8%. They also trimmed the number of complications from 11% to 7%.
The study shows that an operation’s success depends far more on teamwork and clear communication than the brilliance of individual doctors, says co-author Alex Haynes, also of Harvard. And that’s good news, he says, because it means hospitals everywhere can improve.
Researchers modeled the checklist, which takes only two minutes to go through, after ones used by the aviation industry, which has dramatically reduced the number of crashes in recent years.
This is more great evidence of the value of applying simple management tools that are already well known. The idea that improvement takes brand new breakthrough ideas is just plain wrong.
Related: Using Books to Ignite Improvement – The Power of a Checklist – New, Different, Better – Management Improvement History and Health Care – Open Source Management Terms – Fast Company Interview with Jeff Immelt