Safety Checklists Aren’t Just for Pilots

We all use lists to guide us through our daily tasks. “To do” lists can be as simple as a grocery list or as complex as a project management spreadsheet. A kitchen recipe is a good example of a “how to” list. More importantly, safety checklists – essential in both a cockpit and in an operating room – confirm the following:

  • Correct patient
  • Correct procedure
  • Availability of all equipment and supplies
  • Identification of any special medical needs

To further ensure safety and quality, more detailed lists can include a written list of each procedural step and the corresponding supplies needed for that step. The added benefit to this extra effort is a more efficient operating room team.

Many patients make analogies between robotic surgeons and pilots. Both are judged by previous experience, both “fly by wire,” and both should use checklists. But in the end, it’s all about the landing.