"Checklists" and Rapid Innovation with Amalga

A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio on my way to work and came across an interview with Dr. Atul Gawande talking about his book The Checklist Manifesto. He's kind of taken the world by storm with a really basic idea: maybe if we used simple checklists to ensure consistency in surgical procedures, we could save some lives.

Maybe indeed. When Dr. Peter Pronovost at Johns Hopkins ran a study using checklists to combat bloodstream infections in the ICU, he documented a sustained 66% reduction. When Dr. Gawande deployed a surgical checklist at eight test hospitals as part of a World Health Organization study, major complications dropped by 36%.

And yet the vast majority of procedures in the world are still performed, every day, without checklists. Are you kidding me? We simply must get better about folding this kind of learning back into daily practice.

Well, as it turns out, this is one of the primary design principles underlying the Amalga Unified Intelligence System --- figure out what works, then do more of it, and fast.

As soon as I got to work that morning, I ordered Dr. Gawande's book and (thank you Amazon Prime) a couple of days later I was scribbling down design ideas for a "checklist extension" for Amalga that would allow our hospitals to quickly create checklists, put them into daily practice, and track their use to continually improve performance over time.

A few weeks later, and I've just published that extension up to our community portal where it is available to any Amalga customer as a free add-on to the product. The extension includes the WHO surgical safety checklists as a starting point, but supports creation of lists for any scenario, from complex interventions to making sure rooms are cleaned properly.

This quick video shows the feature in action:

So, what are the key takeaways?

  1. You should be implementing checklists in your practice --- there is more than enough evidence to justify the cost of implementing them.

  2. If you're an Amalga customer, the Checklist Extension is a super-easy way to get started - and one that will maximize your ability to see and improve its effectiveness in your organization. If you would like to learn more, your CRM can help --- or just drop me a note.

  3. Amalga is awesome. I mean, come on --- I just got back from HIMSS and the amount of blah blah blah going on out there is nuts. This is real, and can really help.

Enough said!

Comments (1)

  1. Sean,

    Neat idea! The implementation is very cool! I strongly believe that such simple and useful tools will make "Happy Clinicians"(TM) and eventually make them like our bigger, scarier systems.

    Another candidate for such "checklists" are the nursing guidelines. Nurses often use local guidelines for patient care tasks such drug administration, nutrition and so on. Generally such guidelines are hosted on hospital intranet sites or stuck away in binders.


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