Checklists: Averting human error by recognizing small but critical steps

What good is a heap of dusty, spiral bound training manuals that lie stacked up against the wall or a pile of handbooks that have never seen the light of day and remain shoved in a drawer months, after a health and safety training workshop?

How reliable is pure memory and judgement in recalling the steps to follow in a high-stakes encounter when you are face to face with an unusal one-off medical emergency? Would you count on your ability to recall commonly overlooked steps, particularly when you are, an emergency victim’s best chance of survival? Would you trust a proven checklist of protocols instead?

We must recognize that missed subtleties in an emergency can be just as fatal and practical reminders must be woven into a successful rescue. These reminders need not be overly prescriptive that they become a distraction nor be too obvious that no one even needs to be reminded to perform them. Instead these reminders can touch on those critical steps that are somewhat table stakes but are often erroneously overlooked. To be usable, these reminders must be simple, brief, and easy to follow. More like companion steps that help one carry out key tasks or confirmation steps that provide a kind of peer review of tasks done.

In a medical emergency, bystanders and emergency professionals want to do right by those in need. Resourcing the lay public and trained rescuers with practical reminders can go a long way in confirming that interventions were done correctly. This would warrant the level of trust afforded by those in need. Infact, when faced with a medical emergency, even the loudest detractors, who may not view the significance of a checklist, wouldn’t want to leave it all up to memory or good judgement but would prefer that a proven checklist of protocols was consulted in their care.

The Helpfie Smart First Aid application and the Smart EMS checklist provide simple, easy to follow and offline accessible digital resources that equip bystanders and emergency professionals with practical reminders in those critical moments in a medical emergency when every second counts. Head to and hit “get access” to get started with these digital life saving resources.