Video Interview with Dr. Peter Pronovost on Checklists & Patient Safety


Here's a video interview with Dr. Peter Pronovost, author of the book Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor's Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out, via AARP.

It's a brief synopsis of the patient safety and quality problem and some of the basics of how checklists (and proper management of them) can dramatically reduce infections. What happens when a nurse sees a doctor NOT following the checklist? Would the nurses speak up?

“Everyone agrees we should use the checklist, but arrogance gets in the way and it leads to 31,000 deaths a year from central line associated blood stream infections.”



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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Hameer says

    Thank you for this post.

    Coming from a military background, I understand the value of checklists that serve as a “safety net” to ensure all necessary procedures are covered in an operations scenario while still allowing intuition to drive decisions at a critical decision-making point. Rather than serving as a crutch, these tools serve as guidelines to ensure the best possible result.

    I am currently in the process of applying these experiences to the healthcare setting. One of my projects actually attempts to address ventilator-associated pneumonia (as addressed in the video interview with Dr. Pronovost) by creating a standardized protocol by which MICU staff can conduct spontaneous breathing trials on a patient. The intent is to reduce mean patient ventilator days, which reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections. Other hospitals have already proven that these types of protocols work.

    It is my belief that any providers expressing arrogance at the concept of checklists and brushing them off as “cookbook medicine” should take a second and reflect on how many lives would be saved/complications could prevented. Dr. Pronovost has provided statistics on the matter that should give pause to anyone who bears the burden of patient safety and well-being. Removing unnecessary memory items from the equation provides ssurances that all the “little things” (which could translate into “big things” if not properly addressed) will be taken care of. Thus, more thinking can be focused on the critical decision points.

    1. Mark Graban says

      Well said, Hameer. Thanks for your comments!

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