Quality improvement, checklists and systems of work: why do we need them?


Missing out one small step in a complex procedure can lead to an error. A checklist is a list of actions that can identify the small but crucial steps which may be missed out. Checklists are just one of the tools used to form a culture of continuous quality improvement (QI) in veterinary practice. QI is about understanding the level of care practices provide and implementing interventions to try to improve it. Checklists have been used in aviation and in human healthcare to reduce errors. The use of a surgical safety checklist can be very effective both in human healthcare and in veterinary practice. Checklists can be used in many other areas of practice too. They are a patient safety system, not just a piece of paper, they encourage teamwork, communication and situational awareness and can help to reduce errors.

Figure 1. How quality improvement tools are all linked together.
Figure 1. How quality improvement tools are all linked together.

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