Patient Handoffs And Transitions Of Care

The Path To Better Patient Care

Hospitals are paying more attention to patient handoffs as a crucial element in quality and patient safety, with an evolution toward seeing them as not just a distinct task, but more as a comprehensive strategy. National and international regulators and accreditors have called out inadequate handoff communications and coordination and its effect on patient care. Handoffs (also known as transitions) are the passing of patients between caregivers, plus the information that caregivers exchange during the process. The latter represents a major point of failure for healthcare; each handoff runs the risk of key treatment information being garbled, forgotten, or not passed on. These transfers can be as dramatic as air-lifting a patient to a remote specialty hospital and telling the EMTs that the patient thinks he can fly and will try to jump out of the helicopter, or as mundane as a nurse ending her shift and telling her replacement the patient has been taken off a certain medicine. In both cases, not passing on this information can potentially harm the patient.

J Bara are known international leaders in developing and implementing effective patient handoffs (handovers) and transitions of best care practices. To create a successful handoff, team members need to be prepared to receive the patient during each transition. They should put everything else aside for a moment, pay attention, and listen carefully to make sure they have received all the information necessary to provide an exceptional appointment—from start to finish—for the patient.

Most importantly, you need to prepare your patient every step of the way by explaining what comes next, anticipating their expectations and needs, and introducing them to the next team member. By utilizing appropriate handoffs, you increase the level of trust your patient has with your team and eliminate a lot of their potential fears.

J Bara experts can help your organization develop a pathway to effective transitions of care. Our transitions of care management and coordination consulting services include:

  • Care Management process and program development 
  • Efficient and effective patient throughput strategies
  • Education and training programs to ensure success with staff
  • Utilization review, including development of program structure, systems, and processes