Why the List That Saves Lives, Works

clipboard.jpgA group of social scientists and researchers from the US and the UK have conducted a study into why the checklist developed by Peter Pronovost is so effective in preventing hospital-acquired infections. Indiana medical malpractice lawyers believe that the results could offer answers to hospitals on how to further reduce their infection rates through the checklist.

The study involved researchers from the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Leicester. The researchers were not looking at whether the program worked. There is plenty of evidence to indicate that the checklist had been very successful in reducing hospital-acquired infection rates, especially the rates of deadly central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units. The researchers were looking at why the checklist was so effective in reducing infections. They focused their efforts on how the program has fared in Michigan, where it is being used in more than 100 hospitals.

What they found was that in the case of the Michigan hospitals, the checklist clearly defined what hospitals could do to prevent hospital-acquired infections, but left the specifics to the hospital personnel. The Michigan program also did a great job of educating health care professionals about the need to prevent these infections. A creative combination of storytelling and real-life accounts of patients who were harmed by hospital-acquired infections, worked to make nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals aware about the problem.

Additionally, the Michigan program focused heavily on monitoring infection rates in the hospital, and this made it easier for workers to track the areas where they had improved, and the areas that needed further work. In fact, in Michigan, the checklist evolved from a simple five-step checklist to a complete program that involved the medical community in reducing infections and achieving best outcomes for patients.

There are up to 98,000 reasons for the existence of a checklist like this. According to a report, To Err Is Human by the Institute of Medicine a decade ago, up to 98,000 people are killed every year due to medical errors in hospitals. Indiana medical practice lawyers believe that most of those errors could be prevented and lives could be saved if more hospitals adopted the checklist.