Implementing ICU checklist is ‘complicated,’ WSJ reports

(Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality)(Healthcare-Associated Infections, IOM Aim: Safe)

Although an ICU checklist initiative developed jointly by Johns Hopkins University and the Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality helped Michigan hospitals “dramatically” reduce rates of bloodstream infections, “meaningful use” of the five-step checklist is limited, nearly three years after the findings were published, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the article in an interview with Peter Pronovost, the expert who led the Michigan study, the steps involved in the checklist are simple: washing hands; cleaning the patient's skin with a disinfectant called chlorhexidine; wearing a cap and gown and using a surgical drape during the procedure; inserting the catheter through parts of the body other than the groin, when possible; and removing unnecessary catheters.  But putting the checklist into practice is more complicated than it sounds, with cultural issues serving as the main obstacle to eliminating infections.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, October 28, 2009; The Wall Street Journal, http://wsj.com, accessed November 6, 2009)