Do Checklists Change Human Behaviors? Thoughts from Medical Lawyer Dr. Argy

checklists in healthcare legal perspective

Today a post from friend Dr. Nicolas Argy, MD, JD and professor at Boston University School of Public Health in the Department of Health Law, Policy and Management. His legal and medical training combined with strong interpersonal and problem solving skills has made him a highly effective and productive educator and consultant in the field! Here in his post “Changing Human Behavior With Checklists: Do They Enhance Patient Safety?”, Dr. Argy questions the effectiveness of education:

The downfall of the checklist is not inherent to the list or the process itself but the more important question of how we create sustained changes in human behavior.  The literature is nascent regarding successful use of implementation science.  The business world talks about change management.  Behavioral psychologist, economists and neurocognitive researchers struggle to achieve sustained changes in human behavior.  Kahneman has shown our flawed decision making  regarding economics but the poor rationale appears in all spheres of life.  



The natural  consequence of flawed decision making is flawed behaviors that follow.  Research continues on specific techniques to achieve the goal of  influencing behaviors.  Some focus on creating intrinsic motivation to cause change.  Others rely on education or typical carrots and sticks approaches.  More are moving to neurocognitively aware methods using heuristic techniques, progressive participatory dialectic techniques, exaggeration, gamification and closed loop data collection with realtime feedback  including video and simulation training.

Other articles by Dr. Argy include:

Read this and other articles by Dr. Argy on his new blog!


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