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Webster KLW, Keebler JR, Lazzara EH, et al. Jt Comm Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:343-353.
Effective handoff communication is a key indicator of safe patient care. These authors outline a new model for handoff communication, integrating three theoretical frameworks addressing relevant inputs (i.e., individual organizational, environmental factors), mediators (e.g., communication, leadership), outcomes (e.g., patient, provider, teamwork, and organizational outcomes), and adaptation loops.
Wooldridge AR, Carayon P, Hoonakker PLT, et al. Hum Factors. 2022;Epub Jun 5.
Handoffs between inpatient care settings represent a vulnerable time for patients. This qualitative study explores how team cognition occurs during care transitions and interprofessional handoffs between inpatient settings and the influence of sociotechnical systems, such as communication workflows or electronic heath record-based interfaces) influence team cognition. Participants highlighted how interprofessional handoffs can both enhance (e.g., information exchange) and hinder (e.g., logistic challenges and imprecise communication) team cognition.

Arora V, Farnan J. UpToDate. June 15, 2022.

The change of an inpatient’s location or handoffs between teams can fragment care due to communication, information, and knowledge gaps. This review examines in-patient transition safety issues and summarizes system level, sender, and receiver tactics to reduce patient vulnerability during handoffs.
Buitrago I, Seidl KL, Gingold DB, et al. J Healthc Qual. 2022;44:169-177.
Reducing hospital 30-day readmissions is seen as a way to improve safety and reduce costs. Baltimore City mobile integrated health and community paramedicine (MIH-CP) was designed to improve transitional care from hospital to home. After one year in operation, MIH-CP performed a chart review to determine causes of readmission among patients in the program. Root cause analysis indicated that at least one social determinant of health (e.g., health literacy) played a role in preventable readmissions; the program was modified to improve transitional care.

Lane S, Gross M, Arzola C, et al. Can J Anaesth. Epub 2022 Mar 22.

Intraoperative anesthesia handovers can increase patient safety risks. Based on video-recorded handovers and anesthetic records, researchers at this tertiary care center found that introduction of an intraoperative handover checklist improved handover completeness, which may decrease risk for adverse events.
Vollam S, Gustafson O, Morgan L, et al. Crit Care Med. 2022;50:1083-1092.
This mixed-method study explored the reasons why out-of-hours discharges from the ICU to the ward, and nighttime coverage are associated with poor outcomes. Based on qualitative interviews with patients, family members, and staff involved in the ICU discharge process, this study found that out-of-hours discharges are considered unsafe due to nighttime staffing levels and skill mix. Out-of-hours discharges often occurred prematurely, without adequate handovers, and involved patients who were not physiologically stable, and at risk for clinical deterioration.
Shafer GJ, Singh H, Thomas EJ, et al. J Perinatol. 2022;Epub Mar 4.
Patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are at risk for serious patient safety threats. In this retrospective review of 600 consecutive inborn NICU admissions, researchers found that the frequency of diagnostic errors among inborn NICU patients during the first seven days of admission was 6.2%.
Wooldridge AR, Carayon P, Hoonakker PLT, et al. Appl Ergon. 2022;98:103606.
Care transitions can increase the risk of patient safety events. Using the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) model, this study explored care transitions between operating rooms and inpatient critical care units and the importance of articulation work (i.e., preparation and follow-up activities related to transitions) to ensure safe transitions.
Bourne RS, Jennings JK, Panagioti M, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:609-622.
Patients transferring from the intensive care unit (ICU) to the hospital ward may experience medication errors. This systematic review examined medication-related interventions on the impact of medication errors in ICU patients transferring to the hospital ward. Seventeen studies were included with five identified intervention components. Multi-component studies based on staff education and guidelines were effective at achieving almost four times more deprescribing on inappropriate medications by the time of discharge. Recommendations for improving transfers are included.
Lo L, Rotteau L, Shojania KG. BMJ Open. 2021;11:e055247.
Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) is a mnemonic technique used to avoid communication failures during handoffs. This systematic review found that fidelity with SBAR is highest in classroom settings, but that studies in clinical contexts either did not achieve sufficient improvements in fidelity or did not assess fidelity.
Galatzan BJ, Carrington JM. Res Nurs Health. 2021;44:833-843.
During handoffs, nurses are exposed to a variety of interruptions and distractions which may lead to cognitive overload. Using natural language processing, researchers analyzed ten audio-recorded change of shift handoffs to estimate the cognitive load experienced by nurses. Nurses’ use of concise language has the potential to decrease cognitive overload and improve patient outcomes.
Burden AR, Potestio C, Pukenas E. Adv Anesth. 2021;39:133-148.
Handoffs occur several times during a perioperative encounter, increasing the risk of communication errors. Structured handoffs, such as situation-background-assessment-recommendation (SBAR) and checklists, have been shown to improve communication between providers during anesthesia care. The authors discuss how these tools and other processes can improve shared understanding of effective handoffs.
Krishnan S, Wheeler KK, Pimentel MP, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;41:25-29.
Incident reporting systems are used to detect patient safety concerns and determine potential causes and opportunities for improvements. In the perioperative setting of one hospital, insufficient handoffs were the most common event type in the “coordination of care” category. Use of structured handoffs is recommended to improve communication and patient safety.
Hyvämäki P, Kääriäinen M, Tuomikoski A-M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:210-224.
Previous studies have demonstrated health information exchanges (HIE) can improve the quality and safety of care by improving diagnostic concordance and reducing medication errors. This review synthesizes physicians’ and nurses’ perspectives on patient safety related to use of HIE in interorganizational care transitions. Several advantages of and challenges with HIE are detailed.
Lafferty M, Harrod M, Krein SL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021;28:28(12).
Use of one-way communication technologies, such as pagers, in hospitals have led to workarounds to improve communication. Through observation, shadowing, interviews, and focus groups with nurses and physicians, this study describes antecedents, types, and effects of workarounds and their potential impact on patient safety.
Werner NE, Rutkowski RA, Krause S, et al. Appl Ergon. 2021;96:103509.
Shared mental models contribute to effective team collaboration and communication. Based on interviews and thematic analysis, the authors explored mental models between the emergency department (ED) and skilled nursing facility (SNF). The authors found that these healthcare professionals had misaligned mental models regarding communication during care transitions and healthcare setting capability, and that these misalignments led to consequences for patients, professionals, and the organization.
Clari M, Conti A, Chiarini D, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2021;36:e51-e58.
Handovers between providers occur regularly during hospital stays. This review synthesizes the benefits of, and barriers to, successful handovers. Benefits include humanization of the patient and improved patient safety; barriers include provider stress and feelings of inadequacy. Recognition of these factors can improve successful implementation of handover procedures in hospitals.
Abraham J, Meng A, Sona C, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2021;151:104458.
Standardized handoff protocols from the operating room to the intensive care unit have improved patient safety, but clinician compliance and long-term sustainability remain poor. This study identified four phases of post-operative handoff associated with risk factors: pre-transfer preparation, transfer and set up, report preparation and delivery, and post-transfer care. The authors recommend “flexibly standardized” handoff intervention tools for safe transfer from operating room to intensive care.
Walters GK. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e264-e267.
The majority of preventable adverse events are multifactorial in nature and are a result of system failures. Using a case study, the authors outline a series of errors following misplacement of a PICC line. Failures include differences in recording electronic health record notes and communication between providers. Investigations of all adverse events will help identify and correct system failures to improve patient safety.