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checklist is a list of items to be noted, checked, remembered or done. In healthcare, it is used to prescribe the critical steps needed to execute procedures correctly. A checklist can contain many elements, and have many owners /responsible persons.

Peter Pronovost is credited first with making use of a checklist for line infections, in 2001. On a sheet of plain paper, he plotted out the steps to take in order to avoid infections when putting a line in. Doctors should: (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, and (5) put a sterile dressing over the catheter site once the line is in. He then worked on pain management and mechanical ventilation checklists, showing tremendous improvement. The checklists helped with memory recall and also made explicit the minimum, expected steps in complex processes. The checklists established a higher standard of baseline performance.

(see Atul Gawande’s “The Checklist” from the Annals of Medicine).

For a specific example, see reality check for checklists, commonly used in safety: Better Understanding Of Use Of Checklists In Healthcare Urged