Allow teams to develop their own measures

Standardising some critical areas of practice through checklists is a useful method that works well for aviation.  It is much more practicable than the never-ending tail-chasing over irrelevant issues that ISO accreditation requires.  Checklists were extended to surgery and initially showed dramatic reductions in poor outcomes.

WHO surgical checklist

However, a more recent study shows no evidence that mandating checklists truly helps.  Scilogs reports:

“The study by Ursbach and colleagues does not prove that safety checklists are without benefit. It highlights that there is little scientific data supporting the use of mandatory checklists…

“Instead of mandating checklists, authorities should consider the benefits of allowing surgical teams to develop their own measures that improve patient safety and team communication. The safety measures will likely contain some form of physical or verbal checklists...

Optimizing such tailored checklists, understanding why some studies indicate benefits of checklists whereas others do not and re-evaluating the efficacy of checklists in the non-academic setting will all require a substantial amount of future research before one can draw definitive conclusions about the efficacy of checklists. Regulatory agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom should reconsider their current mandates. Perhaps an even more important lesson to be learned is that health regulatory agencies should not rush to enforce new mandates based on limited scientific data.”

Unlike the ISO’s attempts to standardise human behaviour, at least research has begun on the true effectiveness of checklists.  These are much less restrictive and wasteful than accreditation.



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