Decreasing handoff-related care failures in children's hospitals

Academic Article

Abstract

  • BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Patient handoffs in health care require transfer of information, responsibility, and authority between providers. Suboptimal patient handoffs pose a serious safety risk. Studies demonstrating the impact of improved patient handoffs on care failures are lacking. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of a multihospital collaborative designed to decrease handoff-related care failures. METHODS: Twenty-three children's hospitals participated in a quality improvement collaborative aimed at reducing handoff-related care failures. The improvement was guided by evidence-based recommendations regarding handoff intent and content, standardized handoff tools/methods, and clear transition of responsibility. Hospitals tailored handoff elements to locally important handoff types. Handoff-related care failures were compared between baseline and 3 intervention periods. Secondary outcomes measured compliance to specific change package elements and balancing measure of staff satisfaction. RESULTS: Twenty-three children's hospitals evaluated 7864 handoffs over the 12-month study period. Handoff-related care failures decreased from baseline (25.8%) to the final intervention period (7.9%) (P < .05). Significant improvement was observed in every handoff type studied. Compliance to change package elements improved (achieving a common understanding about the patient from 86% to 96% [P < .05]; clear transition of responsibility from 92% to 96% [P < .05]; and minimized interruptions and distractions from 84% to 90% [P < .05]) as did overall satisfaction with the handoff (from 55% to 70% [P < .05]). CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of a standardized evidence-based handoff process across 23 children's hospitals resulted in a significant decrease in handoff-related care failures, observed over all handoff types. Compliance to critical components of the handoff process improved, as did provider satisfaction. Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Pediatrics  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bigham MT; Logsdon TR; Manicone PE; Landrigan CP; Hayes LW; Randall KH; Grover P; Collins SB; Ramirez DE; O'Guin CD
  • Volume

  • 134
  • Issue

  • 2