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September 23 2009

Academic Year-End Transfers of Outpatients From Outgoing to Incoming ResidentsAn Unaddressed Patient Safety Issue

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry (Dr Young) and Medicine (Dr Wachter), University of California, San Francisco.

JAMA. 2009;302(12):1327-1329. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1399

Transfers of patient care from one physician to another (handoffs) are ubiquitous in health care.1 Two recent developments have focused increased attention on physician handoffs: the emergence of the hospitalist field2 and the restriction of resident duty hours by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education. Handoffs are often accompanied by communication failures, which can lead to medical errors and harm.3,4

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