Poor Communication Risks Patient Safety During Emergency Department Handoffs

Patient safety is often at risk during the emergency department to inpatient physician handoff process, which can be subject to complex challenges.

Patient safety is often at risk during the emergency department (ED) to inpatient physician handoff process, which can be subject to complex challenges. A study published in Journal of Hospital Medicine assessed physician perceptions of the process and identified potential barriers to safe patient care in a cross-sectional survey that included all resident, fellow, and faculty physicians directly involved in admission handoffs from the ED.

Admitting physicians reported that vital information was communicated less frequently, and 29% of all respondents reported adverse events related to the handoff, with ineffective communication being the most frequent reason.

"Handoff-related adverse events, a pattern of conflicting physician perceptions, and frequent sequential handoffs were of particular concern," the authors wrote. "Our findings support the need for collaborative efforts to improve interdisciplinary communication."

Read the study: http://bit.ly/1hgjYDH