Thursday, January 15, 2009

A simple checklist

The Washington Post reports on an article published in today's New England Journal of Medicine that says verbal checklists used before, during, and after surgery can cut death rates “by nearly half, to 0.8 percent from 1.5 percent, and other complications falling to 7 percent from 11 percent.” This reminded me of an article we read a while ago about how a checklist used at Johns Hopkins for patients with I.V. lines dramatically cut infection rates. Of course there are those who are skeptical of the recent study with all the “yeah, but” comments, but what does it cost, how much effort does it take, and where is the harm in running through a checklist? If it was me under the knife, my choice would be to checklist away.

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