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Checklists Help Reduce Healthcare-Associated Infections

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The New England Journal of Medicine reported that in 2011, 1 in 25 patients acquired infections at the hospital where they sought treatment. Although this statistic is unsettling, it represents a decrease from an estimated 1.7 million cases in 2002 to 721,800 cases in 2011. The reduction is attributed to the standardization of procedures through the use of checklists that ensure all necessary steps are taken to prevent infection including hand-washing and use of gloves. Checklists have been championed by Dr. Peter Pronovost of Maryland-based Johns Hopkins Hospital's Armstrong Institute for Safety and Quality, an organization that also advocates the application of Lean in healthcare. The checklist is a great example of how Lean techniques such as Standard Work can be adapted to improve the quality of healthcare.

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