Sign-Out Insufficiently Informative 70% of the Time

Hospitalist to hospitalist sign-out lacks sufficient information for answering questions about patient care 70 percent of the time, according to an article published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Researchers examined scenarios involving questions surrounding patient care directed to hospitalists for nearly 100 patients.

Approximately 80 percent of questions were nurse-initiated, with most questions related to medications (45 percent), plan of care (21 percent) and clinical changes (21 percent). Hospitalists indicated nearly 80 percent of questions were at least "somewhat" clinically important.

Hospitalists used the sign-out to answer questions 74 percent of the time, though the sign-out information alone was comprehensive enough to answer questions only 30 percent of the time.

The study concluded sign-out effectiveness must improve to assure safe patient care, as sign-outs are often referenced in troubleshooting and when confusion about patient care arises.

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