Research News

Residents’ “handoff bundle” halved error rate, shows study

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 05 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7309
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

A standardized protocol for handoffs among medical trainees between shifts nearly halved the rate of medical errors on pediatric hospital wards, US researchers report in the current issue of JAMA.1

In the study interns and residents covering two inpatient pediatric units at Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts, were trained in the use of a “resident handoff bundle” designed to reduce the risk of miscommunication between teams during shift changes.

Amy J Starmer of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School was the paper’s lead author.

Before the program was implemented interns and residents typically completed verbal handoffs separately, residents were not routinely present during interns’ handoffs, and no standardized structure for handoffs was …

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