Checklists, Culture of Accountability are Reinvigorating the Patient Safety Movement

July 20, 2011

The use of a medical or surgical checklist is now a familiar activity for many healthcare professionals, but experts are asking if they are impacting patient outcomes and contributing to patient safety in a meaningful way. And now, the data from a new study are indicating that a Johns Hopkins-led safety checklist program that virtually eliminated bloodstream infections in intensive care units throughout Michigan appears to have also reduced deaths by 10 percent. Although previous research pointed to a major reduction in central-line related bloodstream infections at hospitals using the checklist, the new study is the first to show its use directly lowered mortality.

The use of a medical or surgical checklist is now a familiar activity for many healthcare professionals, but experts are asking if they are impacting patient outcomes and contributing to patient safety in a meaningful way. And now, the data from a new study are indicating that a Johns Hopkins-led safety checklist program that virtually eliminated bloodstream infections in intensive care units throughout Michigan appears to have also reduced deaths by 10 percent. Although previous research pointed to a major reduction in central-line related bloodstream infections at hospitals using the checklist, the new study is the first to show its use directly lowered mortality.