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Proof that Quick Reference Checklists work in dental offices

Many dentists wonder if Quick Reference Checklists (QRCs) are truly effective in helping dental teams to prepare for a patient emergency in their dental office. The answer is, "Yes, they are very effective."


Checklists have been shown to improve team performance and patient outcomes. Here are a few examples:

  1. "A Cognitive Aid for Cardiac Arrest: Improving Performance during Pediatric Cardiac Resuscitation" (Pediatrics, 2008): This study evaluated the use of an emergency checklist during pediatric cardiac resuscitation. The checklist significantly improved adherence to critical steps and reduced errors in a simulated setting, leading to improved performance during resuscitation.

  2. "The Use of Cognitive Aids during Simulated Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Arrest Scenarios" (Simulation in Healthcare, 2013): This study examined the impact of cognitive aids (including checklists) during simulated pediatric cardiopulmonary arrest scenarios. The use of cognitive aids significantly improved adherence to resuscitation guidelines and reduced errors.

  3. "Effect of a Cognitive Aid on Reducing Door-to-Needle Times in Stroke Thrombolysis: A Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial" (JAMA Neurology, 2018): This study investigated the use of a cognitive aid (checklist) for reducing door-to-needle times in stroke thrombolysis. The cognitive aid led to a significant reduction in treatment times, allowing for faster administration of thrombolysis and improving patient outcomes.

  4. "A Randomized Controlled Study of Cognitive Aid Effectiveness in Trauma Management" (Journal of Surgical Education, 2018): This study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive aids (including checklists) in trauma management scenarios. The use of cognitive aids significantly improved adherence to critical steps, reduced errors, and improved overall performance during trauma resuscitation.

  5. "The Effect of Cognitive Aids on Perioperative Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis" (Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2020): This meta-analysis reviewed multiple studies and found that the use of cognitive aids, including checklists, improved perioperative performance across various domains, including teamwork, communication, adherence to guidelines, and error reduction.

These studies provide evidence for the positive impact of quick reference checklists (QRCs) in improving medical performance and patient safety. It's important to note that QRCs are just one tool among many that contribute to better dental practices. Although these citations are all hospital-based, the principles apply equally well to dental care.


Part of why QRCs work is that they use a specific kind of layout. You can see a screenshot of one of our QRCs here.

To dig a little deeper, take a peek behind the curtain at how we format our Quick Reference Checklists. Although it may look weird, there is a definite science behind effective checklist design. Check it out here. The page layout is only part of the equation in terms of the "effective formula." Font size and type style are also important. (You'd be amazed at what you miss while reading something during a crisis. The aviation industry has studied checklist fonts and type styles extensively.) I encourage you to please download our FREE checklist and test it out during a mock medical emergency drill and let me know how it does for you. Get a free sample of a Quick Reference Checklist here. After you see one of these Quick Reference Checklists and use the free checklist during a mock drill, you'll wonder how you ever thought you'd be prepared without them. We have 24 Quick Reference Checklists for the most common dental office emergencies... ...you can get them here. Our QRCs are compact, accessible, and loaded with expert medical wisdom, academic research, and practical, simulation-tested protocols. Each QRC is 9'' X 12", laminated, produced with LARGE fonts - readable during an emergency - and contains all of the clinical information you need to expertly handle ANY likely patient emergency. Get your own set of QRCs here. (Less than $6 per checklist)



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