HEALTH CARE -- February 8, 2010 at 4:00 PM ET
Surgical Checklist Saves Lives, Dr. Atul Gawande's Research Shows
Gawande's solution was to expand the use of a remarkably low-tech idea first proposed by Dr. Peter Pronovost, a critical care specialist at Johns Hopkins University: require all doctors, nurses and other operating room staff to run through a 2-minute surgical safety checklist before, during and after each surgery.
The three-part checklist covers everything from staff introductions to making sure that blood is available for a transfusion. Check it out here.
Gawande and the WHO tested the checklist in eight hospitals around the world, including ones in London, Seattle, New Delhi and rural Tanzania. They found that the simple list made a big difference. It reduced surgical complications by more than a third, on average, in both poor hospitals and wealthier ones.
NewsHour health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser visited Gawande at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he works, to see the checklist in action and discuss his research.
Listen to Pearl Cunningham, the nurse manager in the operating room, outline how she believes the checklist helps nurses perform better.
Watch for the full story on Monday's NewsHour.