Phyllis Wright-Slaughter

Phyllis Wright-Slaughter is a senior data architect working with the Michigan Value Collaborative.

A recent article in the New York Times reported on the success of a checklist for blood clot prevention at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  Through the collection of data on trauma patients, a team led by a trauma surgeon found that women had a “considerably” greater danger of dying from preventable blood clots.  The team found that 45% of female patients did not receive proper blood clot prevention compared to 31% of males.

To address this disparity and improve rates for all patients, the team developed and implemented a computerized checklist.  Every physician was required to review the checklist for all patients seen in the ER. After the checklist was implemented, the number of patients receiving proper clot prevention treatment greatly increased for both men and women.  In fact, incidents of potentially preventable blood clots for medical patients decreased to 0.

Why was the checklist such a great success?  The article notes several reasons:

  • The checklist breaks down decisions at critical points and habitual biases are removed from the process
  • The checklist reduces the human judgement factor for treatment decisions

Checklists have been put to good use by MVC hospitals as well. At the November 2016 Semi-annual MVC meeting, Michelle Moccia from St. Mary Mercy Hospital Livonia presented on the development of checklists for use by skilled nursing facilities and EMTs when transporting patients to the Emergency Room.  By providing ER staff with critical patient information, these checklists improved the coordination of treatment and patient experiences.  Read more about Michelle’s presentation here.


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