Posted on May 2, 2010 by

checklist-manifestoProlific Brigham & Women’s Hospital surgeon Atul Gawande has written an interesting book extolling the benefits of utilizing checklists in order the reduce errors, increase quality assurance and systematize everything from medical procedures to daily endeavors of everyday life. Gawande sprinkles his thesis with excellent examples of how basic procedures sometimes result in sickness and death because of time limitations resulting in shortcuts and memory lapses. Gawande makes some excellent points. Many physicians reject checklists ascribing to the belief that medicine is much an art as a science. In addition, they point up the limitations of checklists, which Gawande does not fully explore. Checklists are excellent tools for non-complex matters but could serve to limit analysis in circumtances which are more problematic as it relates to difficult diagnoses and prognoses. Notwithstanding, Gawande makes some excellent points and checklists, just as is in flying large airliners or NASA spacecrafts, are excellent starting points to reduce errors and eliminate the need for reliance on memory when time constraints and external pressures may result in lapses. The book is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in systems approaches.

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