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Holistic strategy for promoting effective handoffs


Background Handoffs are ubiquitous in modern healthcare practice, and they can be a point of resilience and care continuity. However, they are prone to a variety of issues. Handoffs are linked to 80% of serious medical errors and are implicated in one of three malpractice suits. Furthermore, poorly performed handoffs can lead to information loss, duplication of efforts, diagnosis changes and increased mortality.

Methods This article proposes a holistic approach for healthcare organisations to achieve effective handoffs within their units and departments.

Results We examine the organisational considerations (ie, the facets controlled by higher-level leadership) and local drivers (ie, the aspects controlled by the individuals working in the units and providing patient care).

Conclusion We propose advice for leaders to best enact the processes and cultural change necessary to see positive outcomes associated with handoffs and care transitions within their units and hospitals.

  • strategy
  • communication
  • improvement
  • organisational effectiveness
  • standardisation

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