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Patient Handoffs Are Broken. This Study Gives an Easy Fix.

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Oct 06, 2016 @ 05:21 AM

hand-holding-keys.jpgIn medicine, increasing specialization has led to more patient handoffs than ever before -- and many providers' handoff systems are ineffective and prone to medical errors.

A handoff, as you know, is when data and responsibility are shared, and then assigned, from one provider to another. There are many systems and techniques for this including morning and evening rounds, and a favorite from my surgery residency: “Night Report." There are so many interesting, upsetting, and even hilarious stories from these, but discipline and discretion will force us to move on.In our last post, we discussed how EMR and EHRs can lead to medical errors. Recently, we came across an interesting tool that targets the provider-to-provider patient handoff, and uses a web-based tool to avoid medical errors. 

The handoff error is a systemic problem -- in many ways, unintended consequences of reduced duty hours. But the issues related to these handoffs have been shown to be significantly mitigated by healthcare collaboration. Specifically, the use of technology-enabled collaboration is reported in a letter to JAMA Internal Medicine, as the mitigating factor. 

A team led by Stephanie Mueller MD, Catherine Yoon, and Jeffrey Schlepper MD from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed 5407 patients over 4 months. They looked for medical errors and rated them on how preventable they could be.

As reported by Healthcare Informatics, they then introduced a web-based proprietary IT tool and reduced the errors from 77 to 45.

We're, of course, ardent supporters of mobile and universally applicable healthcare collaboration -- and we think that this careful study that proves a link between healthcare collaboration and the reduction of medical errors is very powerful.

For more takes on medical collaboration, download our Quick Guide:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Medical Collaboration

Tags: telemedicine, care coordination, healthcare collaboration

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