Residency

Improve resident handoffs with ten best practices

Residency Program Alert, January 1, 2010

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The way the medical community views patient handoffs is evolving. Handoffs were once seen simply as the last thing physicians did before leaving the hospital. Now, more physicians realize it’s a skill that needs to be taught, practiced, assessed, and improved upon.

Despite this paradigm shift and calls from ¬regulatory and accrediting bodies to improve handoff practices, there is a lack of resources for teaching handoffs, says Vineet ¬Arora, MD, MAPP, associate director of the internal medicine residency program at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
As work-hour limits increased the number of handoffs and potential further restrictions are on the horizon, it is critical to teach residents handoff techniques to:
Maintain continuity of care across transitions
Reduce communication errors
Emphasize the value of solid handoffs
Preserve patient safety

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