Patient Hand-Off Tool Reduces Medical Error-Driven Injuries

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that using the I-PASS communication system for patient hand-off between providers significantly reduced patient injuries due to medical errors.

Improvements in verbal and written communication between health care providers during patient hand-offs can reduce injuries due to medical errors.

New England Journal of Medicine

Reported in the Nov. 6, 2014, , researchers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU) recognized this critical safety concern and teamed up with 9 civilian hospitals to develop I-PASS, an original system of bundled communication and team-training tools for hand-off of patient care between providers. The study revealed a remarkable 30% reduction in injuries due to medical errors after its implementation across all 9 institutions.

According to the Joint Commission, ineffective hand-off communication is recognized as a critical patient safety problem in health care; in fact, an estimated 80% of serious medical errors involve miscommunication between caregivers during the transfer of patients. The hand-off process involves “givers,” those caregivers transmitting patient information and transitioning the care of a patient to the next clinician, and “receivers,” those care-givers who accept the patient information and care of that patient. In addition to causing patient harm, defective hand-offs can lead to delays in treatment, inappropriate treatment, and increased length of stay in the hospital.

Read the complete press release on newswise:

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