Checklists

This week I decided to add my new online journals to my link resolver, and was surprised to see I’d already added them. They aren’t all working, though, so I must have missed a step in getting them registered.  And I don’t know whether I’ve added them to  PubMed Linkout. Too many steps, too many interruptions, too much multitasking, and my workflow as solo librarian at three locations is much too fragmented.

Which brings me to my point.  Recently, I listened to NPR’s interview with Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon who is advocating the use of checklists to improve quality and assure patient safety in surgery.   A Surgical Safety Checklist to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality in a Global Population, a study published in NEJM, reports that mortality and complications were both reduced in 8 hospitals worldwide when use of the checklist was implemented.

In the interview, Dr. Gawande discussed some reasons for resistance to using checklists; for example, highly educated professionals may feel that their years of study and experience means that they know enough not to need a reminder list.  However, simple steps such as having everyone in the operating room introduce themselves was found to improve results, and the checklist assured that these simple steps were followed each time.

My job isn’t as complex as surgery – but I’m thinking some checklists sound like a great idea.

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One Response

  1. Amen, Sandy! Gawande was recently interviewed on The Daily Show too. His message is so simple, it’s almost too good to be true. We have his earlier books in our library, and I have just ordered The Checklist Manifesto. It helps that he is a physician preaching to fellow physicians. His sincerity and credibility can break down resistance to the message.

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