Global Health Ideas

Finding global health solutions through innovation and technology

Simple innovations: surgical safety checklist (+link drop)

Cross posted from Design Research for Health

My ongoing work in Mongolia is focused on how incremental changes – e.g. to forms, protocols, resource allocation – can have significant impacts on improved health, so I read with interest this morning the results of a study examining the impact of a 19-item surgical safety checklist on patient outcomes.  The study – which involved hospitals in Toronto, New Delhi, Amman, Auckland, Manila, Ifakara (Tanzania), London, and Seattle – found that the death rate was nearly halved (1.5% to 0.8%) and that inpatient complications were down more than one-third (11.0% to 7.0%).

Regarding feasibility, the authors – who include Atul Gawande of Complications fame – wrote (link to NEJM article online):

Implementation proved neither costly nor lengthy. All sites were able to introduce the checklist over a period of 1 week to 1 month. Only two of the safety measures in the checklist entail the commitment of significant resources: use of pulse oximetry and use of prophylactic antibiotics. Both were available at all the sites, including the low-income sites, before the intervention, although their use was inconsistent.

A few other links I’ve been meaning to post:
  • Whopper Virgins. An attempt by Burger King to show the ability of the Whopper to bridge cultures.  They conducted Big Mac vs. Whopper taste tests with Transylvanians from Romania, Inuit from Greenland, and Hmong from Thailand.  More from WSJ and The Guardian. I’ll give the folks behind this project a pass on the carbon irresponsibility of airlifting a BK grill all over the planet.  I’ll give them a pass on offering up one of our most dangerous exports to people who don’t seem to have as much of a problem with obesity-related disease as we do.  But I can’t ignore the rest.  The commentary, cinematography, editing, and music in this 7 minute film portray these test subjects as animals … or at best “primitive tribesmen”.  Watch and make your own judgement.
  • HCD Toolkit from IDEO. Copying and pasting my own thoughts on this from a listserv discussion some weeks back, in response to a colleague who was curious about the utility of such a toolkit: “The symposium hosted by Rockefeller and IDEO in the spring (see the links at the top of page — sent) was focused on the role of design firms in development. This toolkit is quite different.  I don’t really expect it to be used by design firms, since they’ve each got their own set of approaches, but by other groups working in community development – NGOs, social enterprises, applied research initiatives, and the like.  To that end, it can be quite useful as a tool, but of course only if people actually use it.  Just as important it’s a signal that we need to build more human-centered design capacity in development-oriented organizations.  It’s easy to be critical of something like this, especially when the product looks so simple, but if it benefits those that use it, then it has clearly achieved some value.”
  • Designed with you in mind. Ziploc’s new (?) slogan.  I just started watching TV again recently. Next up: making sure people in global health start thinking this way.
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Written by Jaspal

January 26, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Posted in Global Health

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