Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto has arrived, and sits in my kitchen until I get my first free moment to enjoy it. I hope to read it, fittingly, on my upcoming cross-country flight.
I meant to post about this earlier, but Dr. Gawande was on the The Daily Show back in February. From the interview, here's four reasons to use a checklist:
- Complexity. The complexity of our work has skyrocketed. Aviators implemented checklists because airplanes became too complicated to fly safely otherwise. One of the best test pilots in the world crashed the B-52 on its inaugural flight because he forgot a simple yet critical detail in the pre-flight procedure. For many of us, we've reached a B-52 level of complexity with our work.
- Forget your pride. Pilots embrace them, despite thousands of hours of training and having rehearsed routine procedures many times. Increasingly, surgical teams use them. So should you in your work.
- People like them. Most people actually enjoy using checklists. It eliminates that nagging feeling you're forgetting something and lets you concentrate on doing the work well.
- They're useful. Almost all medical providers who have tried using checklists say they would want their doctor to use one, were they the patient.