An institution-wide handoff task force to standardise and improve physician handoffs.

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An institution-wide handoff task force to standardise and improve physician handoffs.

BMJ Qual Saf. 2012 Oct;21(10):863-71

Authors: Horwitz LI, Schuster KM, Thung SF, Hersh DC, Fisher RL, Shah N, Cushing W, Nunes J, Silverman DG, Jenq GY

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Transfers of care have become increasingly frequent and complex with shorter inpatient stays and changes in work hour regulations. Potential hazards exist with transfers. There are few reports of institution-wide efforts to improve handoffs.
METHODS: An institution-wide physician handoff task force was developed to proactively address issues surrounding handoffs and to ensure a consistent approach to handoffs across the institution.
RESULTS: This report discusses the authors' experiences with handoff standardisation, provider utilisation of a new electronic medical record-based handoff tool, and implementation of an educational curriculum; future work in developing hospital-wide policies and procedures for transfers; and the authors' consensus on the best methods for monitoring and evaluation of trainee handoffs.
CONCLUSION: The handoff task force infrastructure has enabled the authors to take an institution-wide approach to improving handoffs. The task force has improved patient care by addressing handoffs systematically and consistently and has helped create new strategies for minimising risk in handoffs.

PMID: 22626740 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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