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MGMA: Patient Safety Checklists Cut Costs at Physician Practices

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, October 26, 2011

That could be something as simple as referring to the patient by name as the staff goes through the process of taking blood pressure, doing lab work, putting the patient in an examining room, confirming prescriptions and taking payment.

4.Practice the checklist

Wertz said this step means more than setting aside office time to review the checklist with the staff. "You need everyone to actually perform the checklists tasks." She explained that practice will identify tasks that may not be properly performed as well as out-dated tasks that are no longer necessary.

Wertz stressed that a key to developing effective checklists is to empower any member of the team to stop the process if one item on the checklist isn't followed. "We need to encourage everyone to be an advocate for quality patient care. That's what checklists are all about."


Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "MGMA: Patient Safety Checklists Cut Costs at Physician Practices"


Emilie J DiChristina MBA CPHQ (10/28/2011 at 1:19 PM)
This was a great article and I hope that both physicians and practice managers take the few minutes necessary to read it. Last week I had the opportunity to address the subject of Quality and meeting quality indicators to a large group of physicians, most from relatively small practices. One of my major points was that reliance on technology is dominating the office lately, and yet for want of checklists, process flow charts, and other basic steps, the technology is often wasted money and wasted effort for all parties. As I read your article I thought o fthe very basic act of LOOKING AT THE PATIENT when registering him or her for the visit. How often are staff members so engrossed in updating a new PM or EMR, getting all the fields completed just right that they forget to look up, smile and observe. Perhaps a checklist that starts with Look up, smile and observe the patient's overall condition would increase customer satisfaction, make the staff remember that there is a person involved AND perhaps even stop the fainting, heart attack or hypoglycemic episode from occuring in the waiting room.