I know, it seems weird to get so excited about checklists, but I'm such a fan of Atul Gawande that I had to get a copy of his book The Checklist Manifesto as soon as it came out. So when I saw there was a session at the Alliance for CME conference on turning to-do lists into checklists, I had to check it out (so to speak)
It turned out to be actually a delightful experience (did I really just call it "delightful"? But it was). The presenters divided us into four sections, and tasked each section with writing a checklist for something fairly mundane (making a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, catching a fish, knitting a sweater). Then someone from a different group was asked to go through the checklist and see if they could do the task by only following what was on the list. It was, not surprisingly for someone who's read the book, harder than we thought we create a good checklist.
-Keep it between five and nine elements. If you need more, go to another checklist.
-each item should be something you read/confirm or do/confirm before you can move forward
-Be precise, not vague
-Make sure the most important aspects don't get missed, but don't make it a laundry list, either. Look at your processes to see what your team gets right 100 percent of the time and where things fall through the cracks. The latter, as long as they're "mission critical," need to be on the checklist.
-it should be more of a "done" list than a "to do" list.
As a hint on what you might want to include, check the's data for which criteria providers are most found non-compliant in, which I believe were Criteria 7, 11, and 19 as of the most recent data.
They said there was a YouTube video of Stephen Colbert interviewing Gawande, which I can't find on a quick search. I'm going to keep looking because I'm sure it's both hilarious and informative. Update: Here it is -- thanks, Jessica, for the link!
Big kudos to the presenters for putting on such a useful, fun, interactive, and interesting session: Mary Ales, Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association; Shelly Rodrigues, California Academy of Family Physicians; Carol Havens, MD, Permanente Medical Group; and Cheri Olson, MD, Franciscan-Skemp Healthcare.
My flight's boarding, so I have to run.