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Checklists for Medicine and Medical Devices

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In the medical profession, the surgical instruments you use are only a small part of a greater machine that can involve hundreds of moving parts to deliver successful care. In his book The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande has published an extensive array of research that considers the benefits checklists have on the medical industry. By utilizing simple checklists, medical professionals can reduce incidents while increasing the quality of care.

But this is not only the case in the medical profession, Gawande argues that every industry that has a complex system of moving parts should be using checklists to ensure consistent performance. In addition to citing outside sources, Gawande and his team conducted extensive research to uncover just how effective a checklist can be.

The results were not only fascinating, but enlightening. Many medical professionals seemed to scoff at the initial claims of success. But when these simple checklists were given to caretakers, including experienced doctors, the number of incidents dropped dramatically.

The logic is simple: even the most experienced professionals miss steps in the massive number of detailed tasks they complete daily. Implementing checklists provides a safeguard to ensure that small things don’t fall through the cracks and develop into tremendous problems.

Through this logic, Gawande’s research seemed to prove his thesis. When John Hopkins implemented a simple five-step checklist,it virtually eradicated central line infections in their intensive care unit. That same checklist reduced central line infections by 66% in multiple Michigan ICUs over a three-month period. It is estimated that over 1,000 lives were saved because of it.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Gawande is a checklist fanatic. Throughout this book, he produces stories and examples where checklists increased quality, consistency, and efficiency in industries ranging from aviation to construction. According to his analyses, checklists foster the communication that allows teams to effectively operate in high-stress situations.

In his research and surveys, Gawande encountered noticeable resistance to his ideas about checklists, often from the doctors and caretakers in the hospitals he studied. So he asked them if they would prefer a checklist be used, were they to switch places with the patients undergoing procedures; 98% of them responded in favor of a checklist.

As we at Medical Device Store continue to work with our customers to help provide the best surgical instruments for the best medical care, Gawande’s book strikes us as a must read. His insights force us to re-examine the procedures of our industry and remember how vital properly executing even the small steps can be.

We are here to help do our part in performing those small steps correctly as well. Our experienced staff is always eager to help provide you with the best information on our surgical instruments, medical devices, and operating room instruments. We are eager to work with you to provide top-quality tools so you can provide exquisite care to your patients each step of the way.