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Hand-Off Communications

"The consequences of substandard hand-offs may include delay in treatment, inappropriate treatment, adverse events, omission of care, increased hospital length of stay, avoidable readmissions, increased costs, inefficiency from rework, and other minor or major patient harm. "

Our innovative tools will help to create a standardized approach to hand-off communications that will meet the Joint Commission's standards.

What is a Transition of Care: Hand-off Communications?
     A hand-off is a transfer and acceptance of patient care responsibility achieved through effective communication. It is a real-time process of passing patient specific information from one caregiver to another or from one team of caregivers to another for the purpose of ensuring the continuity and safety of the patient’s care.
      To further define the roles, the sender is accountable for sending or transmitting the patient data and releasing the care of the patient to the receiver, who receives the patient data and accepts care of the patient.

Why Tackle Hand-off Communications?
      It has been estimated that 80 percent of serious medical errors involve miscommunication during the hand-off between medical providers. The majority of
avoidable adverse events are due to the lack of effective communication.1
      Breakdown in communication was the leading root cause of sentinel events reported to The Joint Commission between 1995 and 20062 and one U.S. malpractice insurance agency’s single most common root cause factor leading to claims resulting from patient transfer.3 Of the 25,000 to 30,000 preventable adverse events that led to permanent disability in Australia, 11 percent were due to communication issues, in contrast to 6 percent due to inadequate skill levels of practitioners.4

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Patient Hand-Offs / Medication Reconciliation
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Patient Care Whiteboards
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Patient Care Toppers Whiteboards Patient Care Toppers Whiteboards Patient Care Whiteboards can be an invaluable tool in facilitating successful Patient Hand-Offs.

E|Z Word Communication Board E|Z Picture Communication Board

1Solet, DJ et al Lost in translation: challenges-to-physician communication during patient hand-offs. AcademicMedicine 2005; 80:1094-9.
2The Joint Commission Sentinel Event Data Unit.
3Andrews C, Millar S. Don’t fumble the handoff. MAG Mutual Healthcare Risk Manager, 2005, 11(28):1–2. Link.
4Zinn C. 14,000 preventable deaths in Australia. BMJ, 1995, 310:1487. Link

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