Improving transitions of care through implementation of a standardized handoff at a comprehensive cancer center.

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Improving transitions of care through implementation of a standardized handoff at a comprehensive cancer center.

J Clin Oncol. 2016 Mar;34(7_suppl):242

Authors: Ait Aiss M, Phu HP, Day LR, Abraham V, Chen K, Rodrigo M, Razvi S, Gonzalez CE, Brito-Dellan N, Banala S, Rubio D, Vaughan-Adams N, Ruiz DS, Jens T, Levenback CF, Frumovitz MM, Zand B, Escalante CP

242 Background: Communication failures cause two-thirds of sentinel events in hospitals. These adverse occurrences are often both fatal and preventable. Consequently, improving the quality of handoffs has been identified by multiple accreditation constituents as a top priority patient safety goal. This project was part of an institutional initiative to standardize handoffs among physicians, trainees, and midlevel providers.
METHODS: Four subgroups were identified as pilot areas: Gynecologic Oncology (Gyn Onc) fellows to nocturnalists, Surgical Oncology fellows, Pediatric Oncology residents and fellows, and Emergency Center attending staff to inpatient hospitalists. This abstract focuses on the Gyn Onc and Pediatric Oncology services. All teams used a PDSA cycle (Plan, Do, Study, Act) to conduct its pilot study. A gap analysis, root cause analysis, and process mapping were performed in each area to identify specific handoff issues. A validated standardized handoff tool, I-PASS (Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situational awareness and contingency planning, and Synthesis by receiver), was selected. Of note, "Illness severity" highlights patients identified at higher risk for complications and denotes their status as "watcher" or "unstable." Interventions included I-PASS skills training and utilization of the I-PASS mnemonic. Each service developed a standardized definition to identify patients classified as "watchers." Medical errors, ICU transfers, and provider satisfaction were assessed pre- and post-intervention.
RESULTS: Results from 40 handoff surveys showed communication errors dropped by 10% (16.49 vs 14.93). Minor harm as result of a problematic handoff decreased by 45% (2.55 vs 1.39), with a 55% reduction in ICU transfers. There was an overall increase in handoff satisfaction using I-PASS and 100% standardization of handoffs across the Gyn Onc and Pediatric Oncology units.
CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of I-PASS, a validated standardized handoff was associated with reductions in medical errors and improvement in communication. Our institution is moving toward implementing I-PASS across all units to increase the safety and quality of patient care.

PMID: 28152936 [PubMed - in process]

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