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J Patient Saf. 2019 Mar;15(1):18-23. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000203.

Concepts for the Development of a Customizable Checklist for Use by Patients.

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Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Worcester.
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, and.
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.



Checklists are tools that are developed to complete tasks by drawing on specific and relevant knowledge and supporting communication at critical times. If checklists were designed specifically for patient use, they could promote patient engagement, potentially leading to improved quality of care. Physicians of all specialties, nurses, patients, patient advocates, and administrators can take an active role in checklist development and dissemination.


Our method to investigate concepts in developing a customizable patient checklist included a literature search concerning existing checklists and resources currently available to patients. Literature containing expert opinion regarding checklists, professional organization statements, and patients and providers were consulted.


A template for designing a patient checklist was developed incorporating methods from previous literature and resources regarding checklists. This template includes a development, drafting, and validation phase. Sample content for inclusion in potential checklists for patients with diabetes and patients undergoing anesthesia was devised.


Developed by physicians with input from patients and other involved health-care providers such as nurses, this relatively novel concept of a patient's checklist creates a role for the patient to ensure their own safety. With increasing attention to high-quality and cost-effective health care, patient satisfaction surveys will be assessed to rate overall health care. Further development of checklists will need to be guided by specific medical conditions and acceptance by patients and providers. Providers can use these checklists as a method to gauge a patient's understanding of an intervention, solidify the patient-doctor relationship, and improve patient safety.

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