The Checklist Manifesto- Book Review

Atul Gawande is a surgeon in the US and has written a few books too. This one talks about a simple way to improve processes. That is through a simple checklist.

The average air passenger may be familiar with the fact that we have a survival checklist or two in case of disasters- how to open the emergency door and what to do-or not. There is also a similar one that pilots use to make sure a few things are done in sequence before taking off. They have several others for different kinds of emergencies.

How the humble checklist can reduce errors in surgery-the patient's life may depend on it-is what the book is about, essentially. But along the way, it provides other examples of its use, potentially successfully-in investing, for instance.

Intriguingly, resistance to using one is universal, and among surgeons, investment analysts, and others. The hero who can single-handedly win against all odds, and who knows everything (without checklists)- is an idea that is strongly ingrained in all professions, and stops most from even trying to use a checklist. But it has many dimensions, and there are many types of checklists (builders use several). A good one can help in most situations that are complex, or require quick reaction, or both. They improve communication-in fact checklists can mandate some forms of discussion in medicine, or other complex areas. Painstaking research stories to prove their usefulness permeate the book.

A good read, and (maybe) an even better implement, if you are so inclined.

Comments

Diamond Head said…
certainly helps the doc from operating on the wrong knee. His parents (both in med profession) were good motivators for him, in that luck was on his side

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