A partially structured postoperative handoff protocol improves communication in 2 mixed surgical intensive care units: findings from the Handoffs and Transitions in Critical Care (HATRICC) prospective cohort study.
Handoffs represent a vulnerable time for patients in which inadequate communication between providers can contribute to adverse outcomes. Research has shown that the use of standardized handoff tools not only improves the process but also decreases errors. In this prospective cohort study, researchers implemented a handoff protocol designed to improve handoffs between the operating room and the intensive care unit (ICU) across two surgical ICUs at two hospitals. They examined omission of information across 13 topics contained in the handoff template before and after implementation. Standardization of the handoff process led to a decrease in omitted information and increased the length of time of the handoff. There was no impact on ICU mortality and length of stay. A past PSNet interview discussed implementation of a standardized handoff tool.