Atul Gawande’s recently released book, The Checklist Manifesto, caught our attention last week as Dr. Gawande was making the media rounds. We’re clearly not in the business of reviewing books (but here’s one courtesy of the New York Times, if you’re interested), and honestly, none of us in media relations have read it, but just the idea of this book warrants a post here.
He’s talking about healthcare quality and safety!
Dr. Gawande, a surgeon as well as author, has a pre-operation checklist he recommends every surgical team in the country use before beginning a procedure. The results he reports in the book are impressive. We knew they would be.
We knew this because for years we’ve been using checklists, and operations management ideas borrowed from other industries, to improve outcomes for our patients.
An April 2007, Forbes article by Matthew Herper tells our story and provides a snapshot of our quality and safety journey at that time. And the statistics have only gotten better in the last three years. But it’s not really about the efforts we make, it’s about the way those efforts benefit our patients.
And that’s Dr. Gawande’s point too. It isn’t about the extra work or the seemingly redundant questions on the checklist. It’s about the mistakes that are made all too often when even one of those points is missed or forgotten.
Our hats are off to Dr. Gawande for his attention to detail and efforts to make healthcare safer for patients. We hope his message rings true enough to medical institutions across the U.S. and around the world that they will take his lead, and ours, to adopt these practices that have a more significant impact that most people believe they will.
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