A study led by Harvard researchers and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that hospitals that used a safety checklist before, during and after surgery experienced fewer deaths and complications.
Atul Gawande, M.D., senior author of the paper and a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told The Boston Globe that the results were “beyond anything we expected.”
According to the Globe:
“The checklist is based on World Health Organization guidelines and takes only a couple of minutes to complete. It requires operating room staff to complete a series of verbal steps before giving the patient anesthesia, before the incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room.”
Paul Levy, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, blogged about the study and says he is frustrated about the failures in the medical system to make changes “in a profession that is so steeped in the practice of giving individual physicians the prerogative to do their work the way they want to.”
Gawande is scheduled to speak Feb. 11 in a lecture that will be broadcast online as part of the NIH Director’s 2008-2009 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series. The topic of his lecture is “Ignorance vs. Ineptitude: Science and the Causes of Failure in Medicine.”