As an FAA-licensed commercial multi-engine instrument pilot, I have been well versed in the importance of checklists. When lives are at stake, a pilot cannot afford to overlook details pertaining to the configuration and operation of the airplane. For example, failing to assure the landing gear is fully down or that flaps are set properly upon approach can be deadly. Checklists help assure that pilots, no matter how experienced, don’t overlook anything.

Likewise, checklists can also be useful in assuring smooth operations in urgent care centers. While the consequences of, say, forgetting to illuminate the center’s “open” sign, unforwarding telephones, or replenishing toilet paper may not be life-or-death, they certainly can impact the quality of service and profitability of the center. Therefore, it is recommended that all urgent care centers create a “duty log” checklist, which lists key tasks to be completed by each role (ie, front office lead, back office lead, nurse manager) every day upon center opening, at midshift, and at center closing. Logs should be initialed by employees as tasks are completed and retained in a binder for management review. Logs can also be used to notify staff arriving on the next shift of any problems requiring resolution. The use of the log eliminates ambiguity around each team member’s tasks. To assure team members are actually completing tasks as initialed, managers should periodically audit the checklist, walking through each item with staff members to assure they’re being completed properly.

Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc
VP, Strategic Initiatives, Practice Velocity, LLC;
Practice Management Editor,
JUCM—The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine

Checklists Are as Essential in the Office as in the Cockpit

Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc

President of Experity Networks and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine
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