June 17, 2015 – Checklist


Anchor lead:  Can surgical checklists reduce harm? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The World Health Organization introduced a safe surgery checklist in 2008, and now new research concludes that if used properly, the checklist could reduce preventable harms relative to surgery more than any other strategy.  Matt Austin, a quality and safety expert at Johns Hopkins, says maybe.

Austin: The checklist is a tool, but the success of using that tool really speaks to culture. And creating a culture where everyone feels like they can speak up, point out concerns with what has been done or what hasn’t been done.  If you aren’t able to speak up and say, hey, no I don’t think we necessarily did that correctly all you’ve done is check a bunch of boxes. It’s really the culture you’re trying to drive change in and the checklist is a tool to help do that.   :29

Austin says empowering the entire healthcare team as well as eliminating blame when mistakes occur must be parts of the strategy to reduce harm.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.