J Patient Saf. 2020 Dec;16(4):304-306. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000579.
BACKGROUND: Resident duty-hour restrictions have led to more sign-out transitions, increasing the potential for preventable harm. An unfavorable environment is expected to exacerbate sign-out risks to patient safety.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of noise, interruptions, long sign-outs, and sign-outs exceeding allotted time on sign-out quality.
METHODS: Eight trained observers evaluated 620 evening patient sign-outs between interns for 40 weeknights between February and April 2015 at a large internal medicine training program. Quality of sign-out was measured three ways: information quality, scores from the Handoff CEX Tool, and peer evaluations.
RESULTS: Noise had no impact on information quality. Interruptions negatively affected information quality (-0.10 < r < -0.15, P < 0.001) and Handoff CEX quality scores (-0.11 < r < -0.26, P < 0.001). Long sign-outs taking more than 1 hour negatively affected sign-out quality (-0.09 < r < -0.23, P < 0.05). Sign-outs exceeding allotted time negatively impacted peer evaluations (-0.11 < r < -0.22, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Interruptions, long sign-outs, and sign-outs exceeding allotted time were related to lower sign-out quality. Improving the environment to reduce interruptions and training interns to manage their time during sign-outs may improve sign-out quality.