WSJ BLOGS June 6, 2012, 3:02 PM http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2012/06/06/a-different-kind-of-checklist-for-hospitals/?mod=WSJBlog
By Laura Landro
Hospitals have checklists galore these days — step-by-step-guidelines to prevent infection, avoid re-admissions, reduce surgical complications and make sure babies and mothers aren’t harmed during delivery.
Now a group of top health-care providers is offering a checklist of ten strategies for tackling a broader issue: delivering improved care at reduced cost. Called the CEO Checklist for High-Value Health Care, it’s part of an Institute of Medicine initiative to encourage industry leaders to share their views about their own experiences and suggest ways others can adopt models that have worked for them.
Unlike the specific tasks on checklists used in medicine, these are fairly broad, such as having senior leadership that is “committed, visible and determined,” and having “safeguards to reduce injury and infection.”
To flesh things out more, the checklist includes examples from each institution, such asVirginia Mason’s care-management program for Boeing employees, which reduced costs by 33%, and protocols from Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare to reduce inappropriate labor induction to 2% of births from 28%, saving $50 million — an initiative that was the subject of a 2006 WSJ story.
“Talking about checklists may sound like the flavor of the month, but what we are trying to do is distill down the core components of our program in a way that would help others,” Lucy Savitz, Intermountain’s director of research and education, tells the Health Blog. The checklist is meant to address issues of infrastructure, care-delivery priorities, reliability and feedback, and to be explicit about the magnitude of savings possible, she adds.
“It’s a mechanism people can use at different levels to assess where they are at,” she says.