Utilizing Checklists a Good Risk Management Practice

According to a recent article from HealthLeaders Media, new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show that surgical checklists are unused in 10 percent of hospitals. The article’s author, Cheryl Clark, had a similar reaction to our own first thoughts: “Given the evidence of how surgical checklists can reduce deaths and complications, it’s a mystery why nearly 10 percent of hospitals still don’t mandate their use and why another 12 percent can’t say for certain whether or not checklists are being used.”

At MLMIC, we believe that utilizing recognized methods such as checklists to improve patient care and reduce the potential for harm is a good risk management practice. The use of checklists is a patient safety strategy that has been proven to reduce and prevent patient harm. They are useful in multiple settings beyond the operating room, including childbirth intrapartum practice, medication management, and patient discharge instructions. Checklists can reduce the potential for “missed steps” in a process, assist in error prevention, and improve quality of care and patient satisfaction. They may be disease/procedure specific or department specific, and are applicable to all healthcare environments, from the hospital to the physician’s or dentist’s office.

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