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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Why patient summaries in electronic health records do not provide the cognitive support necessary for nurses' handoffs on medical and surgical units: insights from interviews and observations.

Staggers N, Clark L, Blaz JW, et al. Health informatics journal. 2011;17:209-23.

By enhancing providers' ability to transmit information in a concise and standardized fashion, electronic medical records (EMR) offer great promise for improving handoffs and signouts. However, this analysis of nursing handoffs at an institution with a commercial EMR found that the built-in patient summaries provided inadequate detail and flexibility for clinical signout purposes, forcing nurses to develop workarounds for transmitting key information. This finding reveals the importance of human factors engineering in designing information technology solutions for patient safety problems.