The Power of Digital Checklists Evident During Times of Change

By Vince “Bluto” Saporito

I believe in the power of digital, verifiable checklists. I was glad to have the opportunity to see them in action a few days ago.

Bluto-2Vince “Bluto” Saporito
Chief of Staff

I was traveling on several flights for business during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you travel frequently, you can probably recite the safety briefing by memory. However, travel is different now, and I watched how a quick change in procedure, available because of a digital checklist, made all the difference.

I observed this with the digital checklist used by flight crews on an airline in the US. What was the standard safety brief was already changed to include safety and protection measures associated with the COVID-19 response. During 3 out of the 4 flights during this trip, I noticed the flight crew that followed the digital checklist on their mobile device included the new procedures and warnings. On the 4th flight, the flight crew used the often-seen rote memory approach; subsequently providing the “old” version of the safety brief and omitting the newly established procedures. We’re human and will forget, especially in times of stress; digital checklists will safeguard against human error, standardize best practices and reduce variability in performance. 

In times of uncertainty and a constantly changing environment, having up-to-date procedures will help safeguard against human error. Though a step up from verbal communication, paper checklists are susceptible to error due to delays in correcting and validating the procedures over time. On the other hand, reliability increases significantly when digital checklists are used. Digital checklists provide quick and accurate sharing of best practices, dissemination of verified procedures and procedural discipline. 

I was glad the airline industry is a quick adopter to changing times.

To learn how digital checklists can increase reliability and efficiency, and to find Check-6 resources during this Emergency Response time, email