Checklists, checkmate.

Just over a month ago, checklists in medical care = big topic. While some of us may have forgotten the surprising debate, a very interesting David and Goliath battle developed, checklists vs. The Office for Human Research Protections.

Well, according to Wachter’s World (via Health Beat Blog) David won: The OHRP “has concluded that Michigan hospitals can continue implementing a checklist to reduce the rate of catheter-related infections in intensive care unit settings (ICUs) without falling under regulations governing human subjects research.”

As I continue to study (learn is probably more palatable) health care, one of the things that continues to amaze me is how reluctant hospitals (in general) are to learn from other industries–even other hospitals. While eventually hospitals come around (think six sigma, lean production) to at least give (relatively) new ideas a try, it can take exorbitant amounts of time to get there (ah, electronic medical records).

So imagine my surprise when I read an article in the latest issue of Fast Company (web link) by Dan Heath and Chip Heath. Other industries can learn from hospitals? This is good stuff!

“Checklists help us avoid blind spots in complex scenarios. Hospitals have saved thousands of lives by following a simple five-step process for inserting IV lines. Where could your business benefit from a checklist?”

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