Why do pilots use checklists and dentists don’t?

Posted on Updated on

Dr Mark HassedI’m a great fan of using checklists for any procedure where accuracy of execution is important.

That includes pretty much all dental procedures as well as many other patient interactions that happen around the office.

Checklists keep you on track, prevent mistakes and ensure that you deliver a consistent product and experience to your patients.

Yet, when I talk to dentists about checklists, many find the whole concept boring or irrelevant. They would rather “wing it”. They don’t want to go to the effort of creating a system. Instead they rely on their memory and good intentions to maintain quality.

Treating patients in this way results in good outcomes quite often but also produces a lot more mistakes than necessary.

For example, I have a checklist for when I take an x-ray. One of the criteria is that the tooth might be crowned. This simple rule has saved me from crowning a non-vital tooth on several occasions.

So, what’s the answer to the question posed by the title of this article? The answer is because pilots go down with the plane.

2 thoughts on “Why do pilots use checklists and dentists don’t?

    davidmoffet said:
    September 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    So many dentists are doing their patients a disservice by not using systems throughout their office.

    In so doing, they are also guaranteeing their own financial future.

    It is far less stressful and more profitable working in a systematised dental office.

    Dentist Pico Rivera said:
    September 25, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Excellent post. I’m dealing with many of these issues as well..

Leave a Reply