Improving Communication for Admissions From Urgent Care to Inpatient Using a Structured Handoff.

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DOI: 10.1542/hpeds.2020-005678


Background: Previous studies reveal that ineffective communication contributes to patient-safety events. Structured handoffs improve communication during shift change and transfers from outpatient clinics to emergency departments. We aimed to improve the perceived quality of admission handoffs from a baseline of 22.2% to 50% by the end of the study period through use of a standardized template between urgent care (UC) and inpatient providers.

Methods: We used quality improvement methodology to identify key themes (clarity in illness severity, organization, completeness, and pace) that contribute to decreased quality communication. A survey to evaluate the perception of communication and key themes between the groups was administered. During the 15-month quality improvement study at a tertiary pediatric institution, we implemented a handoff tool with visual aids. Givers of information received formal training. Participants received iterative performance feedback. A control chart was used to monitor fidelity to the handoff tool. We used statistical analyses to compare changes in perceived communication between provider types before and after implementation of the handoff tool.

Results: Both UC and inpatient providers had an increased rate of positive perceptions in the overall quality of communication after 12 months of using the admission handoff tool (22% vs 67.3%; P = .01). Complete fidelity to the admission handoff tool increased over time. There was no change in mean duration of handoff (4 minutes) after implementing the structured handoff.

Conclusions: A structured handoff during admission of pediatric patients from an off-site UC to inpatient setting improved the perception of the quality of admission handoff communication.

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Hosp Pediatr





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