Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Safety Checklists in Healthcare- Use Them!

Here is a hot off the press article published in the Journal of Hospital Infection on the successful implementation of an infection prevention checklist. Nurse directed rounds with detailed infection prevention safety checklists were performed in operating rooms and hospital wards. By documenting adherence with infection prevention interventions, and by providing on-the-spot corrective education, a significant reduction in hospital acquired infections was observed.

For years, the science of infection prevention has studied and identified risk factors for hospital acquired in infections. The focus now, at least in part, is the implementation of risk reduction practices. Safety checklists serve to reinforce and ensure compliance with risk reduction interventions, making safety practices mandatory and not optional. Implementation science now provides empiric data that safety checklists work.

Important examples include:
  • The central line checklist to reduce the rate of catheter associated bloodstream infections. To access this seminal paper, click here.
  • The surgical safety checklist, to avoid errors and  minimize morbidity and mortality in surgical populations, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
An engaging read on the use of checklists in medicine can be found in Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto.

Infection prevention and safety checklists work! Respect them. Use them.

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