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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.
Lazzara EH, Simonson RJ, Gisick LM, et al. Ergonomics. 2022;Epub Apr 19.
Structured handoffs support appropriate communication between teams or departments when transferring responsibility for care. This meta-analysis aimed to determine if structured, standardized post-operative anesthesia handoffs improved provider, patient, organizational and handoff outcomes. Postoperative outcomes moved in a generally positive direction when compared with non-standardized handoffs. The authors suggest additional research into pre- and intra-operative handoffs is needed.

This WebM&M describes two incidences of the incorrect patient being transported from the Emergency Department (ED) to other parts of the hospital for tests or procedures. In one case, the wrong patient was identified before undergoing an unnecessary procedure; in the second case, the wrong patient received an unnecessary chest x-ray. The commentary highlights the consequences of patient transport errors and strategies to enhance the safety of patient transport and prevent transport-related errors.

El Abd A, Schwab C, Clementz A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:230-236.
Older adults are at high risk for 30-day unplanned hospital readmission. This study identified patient-level risk factors among patients 75 years or older who were initially hospitalized for fall-related injuries. Risk factors included being a male, abnormal concentration of C-reactive protein, and anemia. Discharge programs targeting these patients could reduce 30-day unplanned readmissions.
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.
Humphrey KE, Sundberg M, Milliren CE, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:130-137.
Poor provider-provider and provider-patient communication can result in significant morbidity and mortality to patients and play a role in malpractice claims. 498 closed malpractice claims were reviewed, with communication failures identified in nearly half. Of the communication errors that involved a failed handoff (47%), the majority could have potentially been prevented with a structured handoff tool. 

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;Epub Mar 7.
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.
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.
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.
Abraham P, Augey L, Duclos A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e615-e621.
Patient misidentification errors are common and potentially catastrophic. Patient identification incidents reported in one hospital were examined to identify errors and contributory factors. Of the 293 reported incidents, the most common errors were missing wristbands, wrong charts or notes in files, administrative issues, and wrong labeling. The most frequent contributory factors include absence of patient identity control, patient transfer, and emergency context.

ECHO-Care Transitions (ECHO-CT) intends to ensure continuity of care and alleviate the risk of patient safety issues, notably medication errors, occurring because of hospital transition. With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) adapted Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) to connect receiving multidisciplinary skilled nursing facility (SNF) teams with a multidisciplinary team at the discharging hospital.

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.
Carman E-M, Fray M, Waterson P. Appl Ergon. 2021;93:103339.
This study analyzed incident reports, discharge planning meetings, and focus groups with hospital and community healthcare staff to identify barriers and facilitators to safe transitions from hospital to community. Barriers included discharge tasks not being complete, missing or inaccurate information, and limited staff capacity. Facilitators include  improved staff capacity and good communication between hospital staff, community healthcare staff, and family members. The authors recommend that hospital and community healthcare staff perspectives be taken into account when designing safe discharge policies.
Hada A, Coyer F. Nurs Health Sci. 2021;23:337-351.
Safe patient handover from one nursing shift to the next requires complete and accurate communication between nurses. This review aimed to identify which nursing handover interventions result in improved patient outcomes (i.e., patient falls, pressure injuries, medication administration errors). Interventions differed across the included studies, but results indicate that moving the handover to the bedside and using a structured approach, such as Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) improved patient outcomes.

Two separate patients undergoing urogynecologic procedures were discharged from the hospital with vaginal packing unintentionally left in the vagina. Both cases are representative of the challenges of identifying and preventing retained orifice packing, the critical role of clear handoff communication, and the need for organizational cultures which encourage health care providers to communicate and collaborate with each other to optimize patient safety.