Morning Handover of On-Call Issues: Opportunities for Improvement | Medical Education and Training | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
September 2014

Morning Handover of On-Call Issues: Opportunities for Improvement

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Division of General Internal Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 4HoPingKong Centre for Excellence in Education and Practice, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 5Division of General Internal Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 6Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(9):1479-1485. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.3033
Abstract

Importance  Handover is the process of transferring pertinent patient information and clinical responsibility between health care practitioners. Few studies have examined morning handover from the overnight trainee to the daytime team.

Objective  To characterize current morning handover practices in 2 academic medical centers by assessing the frequency of omissions of clinically important overnight issues during morning handover and identifying factors that influence the occurrence of such omissions.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A prospective, point-prevalence study was conducted in the general internal medicine wards of 2 tertiary care academic medical centers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 2012 and 2013. Participants included on-call third-year medical students and first- and second-year residents.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Completeness of morning handover of clinically important overnight issues identified using a targeted medical records review and processes of morning handover characterized by direct observation.

Results  We identified 141 clinically important overnight issues during 26 days of observation. The on-call trainee omitted 40.4% (95% CI, 32.3%-48.5%) of clinically important issues during morning handover and did not document any information in the patient’s medical record for 85.8% (95% CI 80.1%-91.6%) of these issues. By univariate analysis, running the list patient-by-patient (ie, the entire team discusses each patient) (OR, 4.32; 95% CI, 1.94-9.60; P < .001) and using a dedicated handover location (OR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.30-5.22; P = .007) positively correlated with handover of an issue taking place, whereas distractions in the meeting area inversely correlated with the likelihood of handover of an issue taking place (OR, 0.96 for every increase in 1 distraction; 95% CI, 0.93-0.98; P = .002). Using a multivariate mixed-effects model, only running the list remained as an independent predictor of the handover of an issue (OR, 3.80; 95% CI, 1.25-11.49; P = .02).

Conclusions and Relevance  On-call trainees omit numerous clinically important issues when handing over to the daytime team. Training programs should introduce educational activities and workflow changes, and provide dedicated time and a distraction-free environment, to improve handover of on-call issues.

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