New Tool From LifeWings Fixes Broken Health Care Checklists

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LifeWings, a leader in patient safety improvement, is offering a free tool, "Checkup for Your Checklist", to enable health care personnel to fix checklists and dramatically improve patient safety.

Surgical Checklists

LifeWings' assessment tool provides critical, evidence-based best practices for checklists.

Most health care checklists are designed poorly, and not executed well by the staff. It’s no wonder they are not effective. It’s not the checklists, it’s how they are designed and used.

LifeWings Partners LLC, a leader in patient safety improvement programs, today released a new assessment tool to help health care leaders assess and improve the checklists they use to ensure patient safety. The tool—available online and as a PDF file—helps leaders find potential flaws in their checklists to optimize future patient safety results.

Despite the widespread and effective use of checklists in high-reliability industries such as aviation and nuclear energy, and the enthusiasm for their value from health care professionals, the World Health Organization and other respected medical groups, current research suggests that the health care checklists are not that effective. A new report, Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Surgical Checklist in Medicare Patients, from the Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, concluded that a checklist used in 95 hospitals in Michigan did not result in better outcomes or decreased costs with Medicare patients.1

LifeWings CEO Steve Harden stated that he is not surprised at the report: “Most health care checklists are designed poorly, and not executed well by the staff. It’s no wonder they are not effective. It’s not the checklists, it’s how they are designed and used.” He further stated that to accurately measure the results of a checklist it should first be assessed for proper design and effective deployment. Utilizing his experience with hundreds of health care checklist design projects, he has compiled a list of evidence-based best practices in the checklist assessment tool.

The tool, available free at, analyzes nine critical points of checklist design. At the end of the assessment, the health care professional will have detailed information on how to improve the checklist and how to build the best practices into all future checklists.

For a limited time, LifeWings is offering a free 30-minute one-on-one workshop to health care personnel who are interested in improving their checklists. They simply need to fill out the assessment and email it to sharden(at)saferpatients(dot)com, or fill it out online. They will be contacted with their results and offered detailed and customized suggestions on how to improve.

About LifeWings
LifeWings Partners, LLC is a team of physicians, nurses, Toyota-trained Lean experts, health risk managers, astronauts, military surgeons, and flight crews. The team was the first in the U.S. to study the best practices of organizations with high reliability, and successfully adapt their strategies for use in health care. They have distilled the methodology used in commercial aviation, military aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and cutting-edge manufacturing to help health care organizations create safe, efficient, high-quality hospitals and clinics.


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Stephen Harden
since: 07/2009
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