Case Study

Tools That Make Experts Better

Written By:

Shreyas Tongaonkar

Hey there! 

If you came to this article  thinking we’re going to list the 10 best design softwares of 2023, you’re not going to find what you’re looking for. But I suggest you read it anyway, because there’s a story here that might just surprise you and change the way you approach your work.

Today, let's dive into a game-changer that's making waves in the world of medicine – the humble checklist. We're talking about those nifty to-do lists that we all use, but this time, they're not just for groceries or chores. We're zooming in on how checklists are rocking the stage in operating theatres, transforming the way surgeries happen, and ultimately saving lives.

Like many great ideas, the concept of using a checklist in the operating theatre started with a story.

Imagine this: the operating theatre – a place of intense focus, sharp instruments, and life-changing decisions. Now, even with the best surgeons and top-notch equipment, there's still a chance of things going sideways.

Image credits - Google Images

Enter Dr Atul Gawande, a doctor,  a thinker, and a problem-solver. Dr Gawande took inspiration from an unexpected source – aviation. He observed how pilots used checklists before takeoff, ensuring that critical steps were never missed. If it worked for airplanes, why not for surgeries? That was the lightbulb moment.

And so, a team at the World Health Organization (WHO), with Dr Gawande in the lead, put their heads together and crafted a surgical safety checklist. Just a simple paper with a bunch of boxes to tick before, during, and after surgery. No big words, no fancy jargons – just a list of things to remember.

The checklist covers the absolute basics  – making sure the patient is who they say they are and that everyone's on the same page about what's happening. Plus, there are checks for important bits like having the right blood types ready, discussing any potential hiccups, making sure everyone had a good night’s sleep before the operation, and ensuring everyone's got their game face on.

Image credits - Google Images

Now, let's look at the numbers and the impact this checklist had on surgeries. Dr Atul Gawande, the checklist champion, shared some mind-blowing stats. In a study involving hospitals from all around the world, this checklist was like a secret weapon – reducing deaths by 33% and complications by almost 50%! That's not just impressive; it's a game-changer.

Dr Gawande puts it in simple terms: "Good checklists are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations." It's like having a co-pilot during a tricky flight – someone to double-check everything and keep everyone on track.” He also adds, “The aviation checklist is not a guide on how to fly a plane, it’s a reminder of the key things that get forgotten when flying the plane.”

So, why does this work? It's not rocket science – it's common sense. When everyone's on the same page, when there's a quick rundown of what's what, the chances of someone missing a beat go way down. It's like a safety net that catches anything that might slip through the cracks.

But this checklist journey teaches us something beyond medicine. It's a reminder that innovation doesn't always have to come from within our domain. Just like Gawande looked to aviation for inspiration, we designers can broaden our horizons when solving the big puzzles.

In a nutshell, checklists are doing wonders in the operating theatre. They're making sure surgeries are smoother, teams are tighter, and patients are safer. It's like that friend who always reminds you to wear your seatbelt – simple, but oh-so-important.

Whether you're crafting a user interface or tackling societal challenges, peeking outside the box can lead to groundbreaking solutions. It's about seeing the beauty in simplicity, just like a checklist that's changing lives. Perhaps, Dr Gawande's approach can inspire us all to think outside our creative realms for game-changing solutions.

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Sync Labs is a design agency that crafts Brands, Websites, SaaS and Mobile Experiences using research led strategy and frameworks

Back To Blogs

Sync Labs is a design agency that crafts Brands, Websites, SaaS and Mobile Experiences using research led strategy and frameworks