The delivery of medical care relies on effective, succinct, and ongoing communication between healthcare providers, called handoffs. Handoffs involve the transfer of professional responsibility and accountability for aspects of care for patients to another clinician or clinical team on a temporary or permanent basis. Handoffs have the potential for deleterious clinical impact if inadequately done. Only recently has data become available that demonstrate improvements in handoffs reduce the rate of subsequent clinical care error. This clinical vignette and subsequent discussion focuses on physician, particularly the resident physician in training, transfer of care: handoff complications, barriers to effective handoffs, regulatory agencies’ input on handoff improvement, standardization of the handoff process, assessment of the quality of handoff, handoff error avoidance, and improving the quality of handoff.
Part of the book: Vignettes in Patient Safety