On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, February 8, 2013.
A checklist is a simple concept. By placing all steps necessary to complete a task safely on a single sheet meant to be interacted with as each step is undertaken, participants can be sure that they have done their jobs fully and properly. In this sense, a checklist becomes a powerful concept. Because when one is utilized in high-stress environments like operating rooms, it can reduce the risk of surgical errors significantly.
In fact, a recently released study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reinforces the powerful simplicity of checklists. Authors of this study determined that operating teams who employ the use of checklists are almost 75 percent less likely to commit a surgical error when a patient is in crisis on the operating table.
This finding is critical, given that it underscores the value of checklists in emergency situations. Until now, checklists have been primarily viewed as a preoperative tool, not as a resource to be utilized in a crisis. Practically, this determination could lead to safer operating rooms across the nation, especially because operating room crises are the single greatest variable factor in whether patients in various hospitals will survive their complications or not.
When crisis strikes, operating teams should look to checklists in order to ensure that they do not miss critical steps in attempting to save the lives of their patients. In standardizing crisis procedure, the medical field can begin to eliminate surgical errors across the country.
Source: Science Daily, "Standard Written Checklists Can Improve Patient Safety During Surgical Crises," Jan. 18, 2013
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