Published online Mar 28, 2016. doi: 10.5412/wjsp.v6.i1.8
Peer-review started: September 28, 2015
First decision: November 3, 2015
Revised: January 27, 2016
Accepted: March 14, 2016
Article in press: March 16, 2016
Published online: March 28, 2016
Patient handoffs are transitions where communication failures may lead to errors in patient care. Face-to-face handoffs are preferred, however may not always be feasible. Different models and strategies have been described, yet there are few experimental studies. Expanding the problem, the on-call surgeon may be responsible for many patients, few or none that they admitted. Effective handoffs improve the quality of care and result in fewer errors. Herein we review different models of patient handoffs, comment on common pitfalls, and suggest areas for new research.
Core tip: Effective handoffs facilitate effective patient care. Distractions during handoffs cause errors in care, there are no outcomes data to recommend one type of handoff over another, and one type of handoff cannot satisfy all types of practice, even within the same institution.