January 15, 2009 | Ken Reed

Surgery Checklist Reduces Surgery Deaths

Eight hospitals reduced the number of deaths from surgery by more than 40% by using a simple 19-step pre-surgery checklist.


The report in the New England Journal of Medicine says that if all hospitals adopted the checklist, they could save tens of thousands of lives and $20 billion ANNUALLY.

This same article appeared in the January 15 edition of USA TODAY.  This article goes on to state that:

– Surgeons are good at making sure they do most of the things most of the time, but not very good at doing all of the things all of the time.
– An operation’s success depends far more on teamwork and communication skills than on an individual surgeon’s skills.
– The checklist takes about 2 minutes to complete.
– It is modeled on checklists used in the aviation industry.
– The checklist has nothing to do with high-tech solutions, instead focusing on basic safety measures.

It is almost frustrating to read an article like this.  System Improvements has been teaching these exact principles for 20 years. Now, the World Health Organization funds a study that repeats exactly what our TapRooT® investigators would find if they had conducted their own investigation.  In fact, after reading the article, I’d swear the author had just attended a TapRooT® Course.  You can scan through this article and attach the TapRooT® root causes directly to his individual statements.

Luckily, I’m more of an optimist. This study proves we can make a difference and save lives.  Even the most basic TapRooT® investigations have the opportunity to find and correct these types of relatively simple mistakes.  All we have to do is find the root causes!

New England Journal of Medicine article:

Patient Safety & Healthcare
Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *