The use of checklists to minimise errors is well established in high reliability, safety-critical industries. In health care there is growing interest in checklists to standardise checking processes and ensure task completion, and so provide further systemic defences against error and patient harm. However, in UK general practice there is limited experience of safety checklist use.
To identify workplace hazards that impact on safety, health and wellbeing, and performance, and codesign a standardised checklist process.
Design and setting
Application of mixed methods to identify system hazards in Scottish general practices and develop a safety checklist based on human factors design principles.
A multiprofessional ‘expert’ group (n = 7) and experienced front-line GPs, nurses, and practice managers (n = 18) identified system hazards and developed and validated a preliminary checklist using a combination of literature review, documentation review, consensus building workshops using a mini-Delphi process, and completion of content validity index exercise.
A prototype safety checklist was developed and validated consisting of six safety domains (for example, medicines management), 22 sub-categories (for example, emergency drug supplies) and 78 related items (for example, stock balancing, secure drug storage, and cold chain temperature recording).
Hazards in the general practice work system were prioritised that can potentially impact on the safety, health and wellbeing of patients, GP team members, and practice performance, and a necessary safety checklist prototype was designed. However, checklist efficacy in improving safety processes and outcomes is dependent on user commitment, and support from leaders and promotional champions. Although further usability development and testing is necessary, the concept should be of interest in the UK and internationally.