Handoffs Essential for Patient Safety

August 16, 2022

ISMIE resources can help with smooth transitions

Given the increasingly complex nature of healthcare, patients’ care will – more often than not – be managed by a team, not just one physician. During handoffs or transferring the responsibility for a patient from one health team member to another, it’s important that any clinically relevant information be communicated.
As explained in ISMIE’s resource on the topic, poorly executed handoffs can undermine patient safety in a variety of ways. Incorrectly communicated information can lead to misdiagnoses, missed diagnoses, delays in diagnoses or treatment, or even inappropriate treatment. It also damages the patient’s experience and can have a negative impact on you or your organization’s reputation.
To help limit your risks, ISMIE also offers an online course on handoffs, available 24/7, that will help you:
  • Learn the basic requirements of handoff communication
  • Recognize the impact of miscommunication during handoffs on serious medical errors
  • Recognize the effectiveness of team huddles, time-outs and debriefings in preventing future handoff errors

  • Determine how a handoff was affected by a physician’s intimidating/disruptive behavior
These online resources provide actionable and practical strategies that you can implement right away, no matter your practice setting.

If you have questions, please contact the Risk Management Division by email.
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