Accreditation

Fine-tune your handoff communication processes

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, April 1, 2007

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The Joint Commission examines handoff communication in the 2007 NPSG FAQs released in February in an attempt to help hospitals better comply with NPSG #2E.

The FAQs cover a lot of ground regarding handoffs, but they emphasize the following main points:

  • Handoff processes must be standardized for similar settings or functions (e.g., similar nursing units) and within similar handoff situations (e.g., nurse-to-nurse or nurse-to-transporter)
  • Although a written policy is not required, the handoff process must be defined and communicated to staff
  • Handoffs must allow for "an opportunity to ask and respond to questions" which, for all practical purposes, requires a face-to-face or person-to-person "interactive" conversation
  • The standardization of the physician-to-physician handoff process or approach is just as crucial as nurse-to-nurse or any other type of handoff
  • Hospitalists must receive handoff information for all patients for whom they have accepted responsibility
  • This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Briefings on Accreditation and Quality.

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