More Than Half of EDs Lack Standardized Handoffs

More than half of emergency medicine physicians said their emergency department does not have a standardized handoff process, according to a study in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

A 2011 survey of 147 emergency medicine residency program leaders revealed a need for more and better handoff training of residents. Here are some key findings from the survey:

•    56.6 percent of respondents said their ED does not use a standardized handoff protocol.
•    Of the respondents that have a standardized protocol, 58.8 percent do not use it regularly.
•    Only 12.5 percent of emergency medicine residency programs offer residents training in handoffs.
•    Of those that offer training programs, 76.5 percent do not regularly assess residents' handoff proficiency.
•    On a scale of one to four, with one representing "not safe/effective" and four representing "extremely safe/effective," the average rating of the safety and effectiveness of respondents' current handoff system was 2.4.
•    On a scale of one to four, with one being incompetent and four being extremely competent, the average rating of residents' competency in giving and receiving handoffs was 2.6.

Survey respondents represented at least 41 percent of the 158 American College of Graduate Medical Education EM residency programs. However, there may have been multiple respondents from the same residency program, according to the study.

More Articles on Patient Handoffs:

3 Barriers to Intershift Communication
Patient Safety Tool: Safer Sign-Out Form for Patient Handoffs
Advocate Sherman's Readmission Reduction Journey

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