Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The power of a good checklist

Yes - we all 'hate' checklists and all that infuriating 'box-ticking' that goes along with it... But are we in danger of overlooking the power and usefulness of a good checklist that has been well researched?

Listening to the radio this morning (BBC Radio 4) I heard a piece about how the airline industry & World Health Organisation has been working with the NHS to deploy the 'Surgical Safety Checklist'. The main principle of this seems to be about team work and making sure that, at the start of an operation, everyone knows what they are doing.

To quote a well known meerkat - "simples!"

There are the other stories about these developments herehere and here. And there is more information about the whole approach to create "The Productive Operating Theatre" on the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement here.

But back to checklists... how many other services could be improved for want of a good checklist? Whenever I talk about 'knowledge management' (which is often over complicated beyond belief) I talk about the value of a simple checklist as being the embodiment of practical knowledge.

What checklists do you work with... and what new ones would help?

UPDATE: A couple of good articles here too: New Yorker 1 & New Yorker 2

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