Embracing Big Ideas to Improve Healthcare

Excellent discussion by Dr. Thomas Lee (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), on how big ideas are needed to improve healthcare. He brings diverse thinking from business, sociology and psychology into a mutually reinforcing cycle. I’ve taken the liberty of reducing his video (link below) into graphic form.


Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 12.36.06 PM.png

Systems Engineering and Health Care: A Match Made in Heaven

Dr. Peter Pronovost was a pioneer in hospital checklists, a simple, low-cost harm reduction tool already in widespread use in aviation for more than a half century. Now he’s bringing more systems thinking into the healthcare fold, this time applying systems engineering to streamline and make key health information readily accessible to practitioners, patients and families.



Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 4.21.35 PM


The Wonders of Checklists

A simple checklist prevents deaths after surgery, a large new study suggests

Washington Post, April 18, 2017

The Washington Post reports that a recent South Carolina study examining 30-day post-surgical mortality rate of hospitals found a reduction in deaths for those hospitals participating in a voluntary checklist-based quality improvement program, over those hospitals that were not. The study is to be published in August 2017.

I find checklists fascinating – especially when used as tools in technically demanding fields such as aviation and medicine. They are an incredibly cheap, easy-to-use and low-tech solution in fields of ever-expanding technical complexity. Yet they do have limitations, and they have taken an inordinate amount of time to be fully-embraced by hospital personnel.

For followers and practitioners of patient safety and health quality, the study’s conclusion comes as no surprise, but it does raise questions. In today’s post, I’d like to examine the history and benefits of checklist adoption. Subsequent posts will consider the limitations of checklists, the dissemination of ideas, and the implications of checklists for regulatory effectiveness – the theme of this blog.

Continue reading “The Wonders of Checklists”