Making a List; Checking It Twice

Pilots always run through a checklist before a flight. On the other hand, surgeons don’t, relying instead on their considerable knowledge, training and instinct. Harvard Medical School surgeon Atul Gawande, wondered if checklists might be useful in medicine. He tested the idea and found it produced not only better results, but “massively better results.”

Something as simple as making sure everyone in the operating room knew each other’s names resulted in a 35% reduction in the number of complications and deaths. Why? Because once everyone introduced themselves, they were more likely to speak up if they saw a problem.

Gawande, who besides being a surgeon, also writes for the New Yorker, discusses his findings in The Checklist Manifesto. He was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition today. As a result, the book rose to #57 from #245 on Amazon sales rankings. Holds are heavy in many libraries.

NOTE: Gawande is Sunday’s Sunrise Speaker at the upcoming ALA MidWinter in Boston; Jan. 17, 8 to 9 a.m, Grand Ballroom, Boston Convention Center.


The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
Atul Gawande
Retail Price: $24.50
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Metropolitan Books – (2009-12-22)
ISBN / EAN: 0805091742 / 9780805091748

Macmillan Audio: UNAB CD; 9781427208989; $29.99

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