Handoff Report Analysis

Published: 2021/11/12
Number of words: 706

Lack of communication and disintegration of a hospital’s system is the primary cause of errors by the medical and health practitioners, including medication prescription errors, mishandling of patients, and missing or incomplete medical information. The most important thing about maintaining communication in a medical facility is that a patient’s care is strongly built and supported since it provides a timely, transparent, and relevant patient account. Therefore, a handoff report during an employee replacement or a shift change is vital in protecting a patient’s care and safety (Lee et al., 2016). Nurses in medical facilities are the holders of patient’s records and information. It is therefore critical that the off going nurse provides pertinent, accurate and up-to-date information of a patient to the oncoming nurse throughout the entire process. This is meant to transfer responsibility and shepherd and ensure a safe transfer (Lomax & White 2015). Shift change is chaotic, and as such, every facility needs to have a well-developed and standardized process of handoff reporting.

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Clarifire Brighter Automation is a software solution that health systems have discovered to improve the experience and services of patients. BayCare hospital is the first to use this mobile technology to enhance patients’ services and experience in their facility. Initially, the nurse on duty would record the patient’s information with handwritten notes, which they would share with the oncoming nurse or any employee involved in assisting the patient. With Clarifire Brighter Automation software, nurses can capture a patient’s information, updated in real-time. When follow-up is needed, an alert is usually sent to the oncoming nurse or other appropriate staff.

Of the audits performed, it is clear that not all handoffs occur in the patient’s rooms as required. A bedside report is considered necessary since it facilitates close patient-nurse contact and partnership. A nurse-to-nurse handoff is necessary, however, if a patient’s sensitive report is involved. Some handoff reports from our audit did not take place in the wards, even though they did require the patient’s involvement. From the audits, some reports longer than others. Lengthy handoff reports left the oncoming nurses and medical staff feeling confused and overloaded. The Baycare hospital policy and procedure suggest that the oncoming nurse should receive the patient’s information, including but not limited to medications, tests results, signs and symptoms, orders, and required isolation. One nurse’s information to the next was verbal, so verbal information is not okay. Hern Jr et al (2016) suggest that, documenting a handoff report alongside verbal transfer is essential for reference, accuracy, flexibility, and consistency in shift patterns.

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Consistency of patient care in medical facilities is achieved if concise and clear patient information is passed on from one medical practitioner to the other during handoff; hence, effective communication is vital among medical staff. Handoff report should be executed and completed using accurate, relevant and up-to-date patient care information. Communication breakdown can cause medical damage in a health care setting. Handoff report requires situation awareness to avoid errors. As such, I would recommend the SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation), a powerful and reliable communication tool that is recognized by World Health Organization (WHO), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Joint Commission. According to Shahid & Thomas, SBAR has contributed to communication improvement in hospitals, promoting patient care and safety, and reducing untimely events such as death among patients in a hospital setting (2018).


Hern Jr, H. G., Gallahue, F. E., Burns, B. D., Druck, J., Jones, J., Kessler, C., … & Representing the Council of Residency Directors, Transitions of Care Task Force. (2016). Handoff practices in emergency medicine: are we making progress?. Academic Emergency Medicine23(2), 197-201.

Lee, J., Mast, M., Humbert, J., Bagnardi, M., & Richards, S. (2016). Teaching handoff communication to nursing students: A teaching intervention and lessons learned. Nurse Educator41(4), 189-193.

Lomax, S. W., & White, D. (2015). Interprofessional collaborative care skills for the frontline nurse. Nursing Clinics50(1), 59-73.

Shahid, S., & Thomas, S. (2018). Situation, background, assessment, recommendation (SBAR) communication tool for handoff in health care–a narrative review. Safety in Health4(1), 1-9.

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