The benefits of checklists in hospital settings

Originally written for SCG Innovation Institute.

The implementation of simple checklists can go a long way in hospital operations strategies.  Despite the advances in technology and extremely well trained medical professionals, there are still an alarming number of avoidable post-operative complications and deaths occurring.

These checklists are proven to reduce medical error, drop the rate of surgical complications, and save lives.  A 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that on average, the rate of complications from surgical procedures from 11 percent to 7 percent when basic checklists were implemented in operating theatres.  In 2010 it was found that after all Michigan hospitals implemented a cleanliness checklist, within only one year there was a two thirds reduction in infection rates.  To put that data into more relatable figures; that one simple, easy to follow checklist saved over 1500 lives and over $200 million across hospitals in one state of one country.

Another example of how checklists can reduce morbidity and mortality globally, is the Surgical Safety Checklist which was developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  Out of the estimated 234 million surgical procedures performed annually worldwide, the 19 step Surgical Safety Checklist has shown to reduce post-operative complications and death by more than 40 percent.

Author: Rebecca Millar

Rebecca is a freelance PR and Communications Specialist, Author, Science Writer, and Star Trek fan with a fondness for caffeine and all things geek. When she's not getting her comms specialist on, she's usually introverting Trekkie style, studying her Masters in Astronomy, or at her local fire brigade where she volunteers as a firefighter.

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