1. “Lean” is one of the popular industrial-management theories taken from manufacturing. It suggests that hospitals should study a patient’s “flow” through the building much as a car is monitored through the production line. That way bottlenecks and other inefficiencies can be spotted.
2. The use of checklists like those used by pilots has become commonplace. Before cutting a patient open, surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses go through a simple exercise to ensure they have the right equipment (and the right patient), know the operation to be performed and understand the risks.
3. Over the past few years behavioural scientists have begun to try to nudge doctors to make better decisions by studying and acting upon their inherent biases. “Default bias”, the tendency to accept the status quo, is powerful in clinical settings.
4. Streams, an app developed by DeepMind, an artificial-intelligence company owned by Google’s parent, is on trial at the Royal Free hospital in London. It is currently being used to alert doctors and nurses more quickly to patients at risk of acute kidney injury, a potentially fatal condition often first detected by blood tests rather than by a patient’s feeling unwell.