Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Simple Things Save Lives

Posted in ICU by drnic on September 29, 2008

There is no rocket science in the ideas behind Peter Pronovost’s concepts for saving live but it’s important to look for in any institution. So he deserves the recognition from the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation as a newly inducted fellow

His work has received criticism and resistance but there is no denying the results:

To address this all-too-common problem, responsible for thousands of
deaths each year, Pronovost culled lengthy guidelines into a simple
checklist of five precautionary steps and tested its efficacy through a
cohort study conducted in ICUs throughout the state of Michigan.
Pronovost’s checklist intervention yielded a significant and sizeable
decrease in rates of infection…

The idea was the subject of an article in the New Yorker titled The Checklist which stated:

If a new drug were as effective at saving lives as Peter Pronovost’s
checklist, there would be a nationwide marketing campaign urging
doctors to use it.

There is reference back to the B-17 bomber test of 1935 that ended in disaster because of “pilot Error” – what they meant was it was “too much airplane for one man to fly”. The soltuion ot the problem – simple checklists to help pilots fly the airplane. Medicine as the article states “has entered the B-17 phase”

Peter Pronovost idea – On a sheet of plain paper, he plotted out the steps to take in order to
avoid infections when putting a line in.
(1) wash their hands with soap
(2) clean the patient’s skin with chlorhexidine antiseptic
(3) put sterile drapes over the entire patient
(4) wear a sterile mask, hat, gown, and gloves,
(5) put a sterile dressing over the catheter site once the line is in

As I said – not rocket science – but armed with the right information to observe even patients can get involved to make sure that they are receiving the best possible care.

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