Audrey L's Reviews > The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
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's review
Jan 13, 2011

really liked it

I enjoyed this book. The author is a surgeon who says that the more difficult and complicated things become, it is even more necessary to use simple checklists to do things consistently, correctly, and safely. He gives good recommendations for making and using effective checklists.

He shows how checklists are used in the airline industry to make flying safe. Pilots go through checklists when they fly and when there are emergencies (think Capt. Sully). Builders and contractors use checklists to make sure the buildings and skyscrapers they build are safe and all the subcontractors are scheduled in the correct order and communicate with one another to solve problems.

The author makes the case that hospitals should also use checklists to make the complicated procedures they do safe and so they don't forget any of the important steps they must complete.

The author tested and implemented a "Safe Surgery Checklist" in eight World Health Organization Hospitals all over the world and the results were amazing. Complications for surgical patients in all eight hospitals fell by 36%. Deaths fell by 47%. After three months of using the checklist, they had the staff members of the hospitals fill out an anonymous survey. In the beginning, most had been skeptical, but after, 80% said the checklist was easy to use, didn't take long to complete, and improved safety of care. 78% said the checklist had prevented an error in the operating room.

One of the quotes in the book that I enjoyed the most was: "Then we asked the staff one more question. "If you were having an operation, we asked, "would you want the checklist to be used?"

"A full 98% said yes."

The author has tried to get hospitals in the US to adopt this checklist but he has been met with resistance because doctors seem to view themselves as "mavericks" that solve problems on the fly.

This book made me realize how safe flying and buildings are because of checklists. It also made me want to print out the "Safe Surgery Checklist" in case I have to have surgery...but the surgeon would probably be too proud to use it. :)

Here's a link if you would like to see the "Safe Surgery Checklist"

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