In addition to lives, checklists save money

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Last year, Atul Gawande and company made a splash by showing what a profound clinical impact checklists made on patient outcomes. Now they’re back, but this time the checklist evangelists are aiming for the pocket book. In the latest Health Affairs, Gawande and seven others contributed a paper with the descriptive title “Adopting A Surgical Safety Checklist Could Save Money And Improve The Quality Of Care In U.S. Hospitals.”

preflightPhoto by cybrjoe via Flickr

Here’s their arithmetic, courtesy of The Boston Globe‘s Elizabeth Cooney

Time was the biggest cost in setting up the checklist, Gawande and his co-authors write in the journal Health Affairs. They estimated that a hospital with at least a 3 percent rate of complications per year would begin to see savings after five major complications were prevented. That means a hospital where 4,000 noncardiac operations were done each year could save about $25 on each procedure, or about $100,000 annually, they concluded.

As always, free access to Health Affairs studies is one of many perks enjoyed by AHCJ members.

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