Here is an outstanding piece by one of my favorite medical writers, on the use of checklists (a form of Standardized Work) to improve healthcare quality.
How can “a stupid little checklist” have such an impact? Take a look at the article and see.
Within the first three months of the project, the infection rate in Michigan’s I.C.U.s decreased by sixty-six per cent. The typical I.C.U.â€”including the ones at Sinai-Grace Hospitalâ€”cut its quarterly infection rate to zero. Michigan’s infection rates fell so low that its average I.C.U. outperformed ninety per cent of I.C.U.s nationwide. In the Keystone Initiative’s first eighteen months, the hospitals saved an estimated hundred and seventy-five million dollars in costs and more than fifteen hundred lives. The successes have been sustained for almost four yearsâ€”all because of a stupid little checklist.
Standardized Work and Lean (I’ll call this article an example of “Lean” even though Gawande doesn’t) are not glamorous. This isn’t an exciting new drug or a flashy “gee whiz” technology. This is basic process management and kaizen 101… yet it’s so effective. We need more of this in our hospitals…
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