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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.
Alper E, O'Malley TA, Greenwald J. UpToDate. June 15, 2022.
This review examines hospital discharge, details elements of the process that can increase risk of readmission, and reveals interventions to improve safety.
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.

Järvinen TLN, Rickert J, Lee MJ. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013-2022.

This quarterly commentary explores a wide range of subjects associated with patient safety, such as the impact of disruptive behavior on teams, the value of apologies, and safety challenges due to COVID-19. Older materials are available online for free.
Fitzgerald KM, Banerjee TR, Starmer AJ, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2022;7:e539.
I-PASS is a structured handoff tool designed to improve communication between teams at change-of-shift or between care settings. This children’s hospital implemented an I-PASS program to improve communication between attending physicians and safety culture. One year after the program was introduced, all observed handoffs included all five elements of I-PASS and the duration of handoff did not change. Additionally, the “handoff and transition score” on the Agency for Healthcare Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture improved.

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.
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%.
Nehls N, Yap TS, Salant T, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001603.
Incomplete or delayed referrals from primary care providers to specialty care can cause diagnostic delays and patient harm. A systems engineering analysis was conducted to identify vulnerabilities in the referral process and develop a framework to close the loop between primary and specialty care. Low reliability processes, such as workarounds, were identified and human factors approaches were recommended to improve successful referral rates.
Shah AS, Hollingsworth EK, Shotwell MS, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70:1180-1189.
Medication reconciliations, including conducting a best possible medication history (BPMH), may occur multiple times during a hospital stay, especially at admission and discharge. By conducting BPMH analysis of 372 hospitalized older adults taking at least 5 medications at admission, researchers found that nearly 90% had at least one discrepancy. Lower age, total prehospital medication count, and admission from a non-home setting were statistically associated with more discrepancies.
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.
Malevanchik L, Wheeler M, Gagliardi K, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:775-782.
Communication in healthcare is essential but can be complicated, particularly when there are language barriers between providers and patients. This study evaluated a hospital-wide care transitions program, with a goal of universal contact with discharged patients to identify and address care transition problems. Researchers found that the program reached most patients regardless of English proficiency, but that patients with limited English proficiency experienced more post-discharge issues, such as difficulty understanding discharge instructions, medication concerns and follow-up questions, and new or worsening symptoms.
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.
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.
Chladek MS, Doughty C, Patel B, et al. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001254.
The I-PASS handoff bundle has been successful at improving patient safety during handoffs in the hospital. A pediatric emergency department implemented the I-PASS bundle to improve handoffs between medical residents. Results showed a 53% decrease in omissions of crucial information and residents perceived improvement in 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.
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.