The Effect of an Electronic Checklist on Critical Care Provider Workload, Errors, and Performance

Charat Thongprayoon, Andrew M. Harrison, John C. O'Horo, Ronaldo A.Sevilla Berrios, Brian W. Pickering, Vitaly Herasevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: The strategy used to improve effective checklist use in intensive care unit (ICU) setting is essential for checklist success. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that an electronic checklist could reduce ICU provider workload, errors, and time to checklist completion, as compared to a paper checklist. Methods: This was a simulation-based study conducted at an academic tertiary hospital. All participants completed checklists for 6 ICU patients: 3 using an electronic checklist and 3 using an identical paper checklist. In both scenarios, participants had full access to the existing electronic medical record system. The outcomes measured were workload (defined using the National Aeronautics and Space Association task load index [NASA-TLX]), the number of checklist errors, and time to checklist completion. Two independent clinician reviewers, blinded to participant results, served as the reference standard for checklist error calculation. Results: Twenty-one ICU providers participated in this study. This resulted in the generation of 63 simulated electronic checklists and 63 simulated paper checklists. The median NASA-TLX score was 39 for the electronic checklist and 50 for the paper checklist (P =.005). The median number of checklist errors for the electronic checklist was 5, while the median number of checklist errors for the paper checklist was 8 (P =.003). The time to checklist completion was not significantly different between the 2 checklist formats (P =.76). Conclusion: The electronic checklist significantly reduced provider workload and errors without any measurable difference in the amount of time required for checklist completion. This demonstrates that electronic checklists are feasible and desirable in the ICU setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • checklist
  • decision support system
  • electronic
  • electronic medical record
  • intensive care unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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