Journal Article
Study

The influence of organizational factors on patient safety: examining successful handoffs in health care.

Richter JP; McAlearney AS; Pennell ML.

Incomplete handoffs and insufficient communication regarding key clinical information may lead to adverse events or missed or delayed diagnoses. This analysis of data from the AHRQ Hospital Survey of Patient Safety Culture sought to determine how perceptions of organizational factors that affect safety can contribute to optimal handoffs. Perceived teamwork across units was a significant predictor for successful handoffs. Perceptions of staffing adequacy and management support for patient safety efforts were also related to good handoffs. Among frontline staff, open communication was associated with optimal handoffs, while among management safe handoffs were linked to a continuous learning culture. These findings add to existing studies which underscore the need for high-reliability organizations to promote safety efforts. The authors advocate for hospital leadership to promote teamwork and open communication to augment handoffs in their facilities. Dr. Vineet Arora discussed the challenges of handoffs in a prior AHRQ WebM&M interview.