In a hospital setting, a checklist is of vital importance. According to a study conducted by the Agency Healthcare and Research Quality, medical mistakes are the eighth leading cause of deaths, surpassing those of breast cancer, car accidents, and even HIV/AIDS in total.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate all major mistakes in the hospital setting, doctors can utilize a checklist in order to increase and improve communication among the doctors, nurses, and patients to reduce the chances of a possible error.
Trying to switch a hospital's culture from volume to value will involve having to implement best practices consistently and effectively. Some hospitals have already begun to incorporate the mandatory use of checklists, which have improved mortality rates by a significant margin. According to another statistic found by the Agency Healthcare and Research Quality, deaths and surgical complications have fallen by approximately 36% through the utilization of checklists.
Dr. Mike Culig discusses the use of checklists in Critical Care
Checklists are not just limited to the healthcare sector, as they have been heavily utilized in other industries as well, including the aviation industry, highlighting their universal importance. In the aviation sector, pilots are required to use their checklists for every part of the process, from preparations for initial take-off to any possible technical malfunctions that could potentially arise. Furthermore, in the construction industry, companies are required to utilize checklists to make sure that buildings have each critical element and do not fall apart. However, relating back to the healthcare sector, checklists allow patients to feel involved in the process, as they allow patients to answer simple questions with their doctors. Moreover, since each patient is unique, a checklist can be adapted to each specific patient, allowing for more personalized and overall better treatment by doctors. Checklists can also be used to reduce hospital-acquired infections from spreading to each patient, as doctors and nurses can use them to ensure that the hospital equipment and patient rooms are completely sanitized, thus preventing an infection outbreak.
Checklists are an essential beginning for overhauling the efficiency and performance of doctors in hospitals. More work needs to be done with the implementation of checklists into the hospital setting, but it is clear that checklists are just the beginning in terms of making hospitals run more efficiently and effectively.
Rick Buchler is a hospital executive and entrepreneur based in Chicago, IL. He is past president of the Chicago Health Executives Forum and a lecturer for and board certified by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). He is the CEO of VIZR Tech, a healthcare technology company.
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