4 Reasons To Use A Checklist

The Checklist ManifestoAtul 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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Atul Gawande
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