Surgery Checklist Saves Lives ... and Maybe $25B

Strategy employed by flight crews means 33% fewer complications for hospitals
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2009 10:25 AM CST
Surgical teams who used a 19-point safety checklists reduced deaths and complications by more than a third, according to an international study.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – It sounds like a no-brainer, but surgical teams who use a simple checklist similar to those employed by flight crews reduced deaths and complications by a stunning 33%, according to an international study. If every US hospital used the checklist, health care costs for treating avoidable complications could be cut by $25 billion a year, reports the Washington Post.

The low-cost, low-tech strategy included checking basic information such as a patient's name and expected blood loss. "I cannot recall a clinical care innovation in the past 30 years that has shown results of the magnitude demonstrated by thechecklist," said the president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Very few hospitals currently use a surgical checklist.