Increasing Compliance with a New Interunit Handoff Process: A Quality Improvement Project.

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DOI: 10.1097/pq9.0000000000000180; PMCID: PMC6594785


Introduction: Current literature demonstrates that standardizing interunit patient handoff improves communication, information transfer, and patient safety. However, few studies have focused on increasing staff compliance with new handoff processes. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to incorporate both user input into process design and on-the-job coaching with a newly introduced nurse handoff process between the postanesthesia care unit and Medical/Surgical units. We hypothesized that staff compliance would be 100% within 90 days.

Methods: The team's intervention consisted of (1) involving representative frontline nursing staff in the standardization and modification of the handoff process and (2) providing on-the-job coaching as the new process was being trialed at the bedside. We designed the handoff process during a 2-day workshop and a 1.5-week pilot. Data included the number of observed noncompliant process elements and handoff duration. Three sequential 30-day plan-do-study-act cycles were followed, during which compliance observations and user feedback were used to refine the design and coaching iteratively.

Results: A total of 1,800 process elements were observed and coached throughout a 90-day trial period. The number of observed noncompliant elements decreased from 15% (92) to 4% (22) from the first 30-day interval to the final 30-day interval. There was no undesirable increase in handoff duration (mean, 8.05 ± 4.72 minutes), and several potential errors-related to orders, charting, and patient placement-were prevented by using the new handoff.

Conclusions: User input and on-the-job coaching resulted in iteratively increasing frontline compliance with a new standardized handoff process.

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Pediatr Qual Saf





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