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  • Writer's pictureStephen Harden

Using a Central Line Insertion Checklist to Reduce Infections and Save Lives

Updated: Jun 6, 2018

By now almost everyone involved in health care quality improvement has heard of the checklist used to insert central lines that was developed by Peter Pronovost, MD, professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The checklist has made Dr. Pronovost famous.

That checklist has long been known to reduce bloodstream infections when used correctly. It has now been proven to reduce patient deaths in Michigan hospitals by 10%.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) studied the use of the checklist and discovered a drop in patient mortality in Michigan hospitals. Though previous studies found a reduction in infections, this is the first to link the checklist program with reduced mortality.

"It's breathtaking," Pronovost told The Baltimore Sun. "With our program, patients are alive who wouldn't be if they were outside Michigan."

The results are so dramatic that the average ICU in Michigan now has better infection numbers than 95% of the ICUs in the remainder of the country.

While checklists must be well-designed, and getting staff to use them correctly can be tricky, with results like these, why isn't every hospital using the same checklist program?

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