Hand-Off Communications

Hand-Off Communications

This actionable evidence-based practice blueprint provides a checklist for clinicians to create an action plan to improve hand-off communications and ensure best patient care. This document is revised as needed to incorporate the latest best practices and gold standard of care. The e-book is available free of charge. © 2022 Patient Safety Movement Foundation.



The Challenge

According to WHO, nearly twice as many adverse events occur globally due to breakdowns in hand-off communications compared to those linked with inadequate practitioner skills. Another study revealed poor hand-offs contributed to nearly 80% of adverse events, and nearly 30% of all malpractice claims are due to such failures. Communication-related errors occur because hospitals lack a systematic, universal method to accurately transfer important information within our highly complex environments. Adoption of clear and consistent communication strategies has been shown to reduce ineffective hand-offs by nearly 60%, reduce readmission rates by almost half, and decrease preventable adverse events by 30%. This blueprint outlines the actionable steps healthcare organizations can implement to reduce errors attributable to poor hand-off communication and summarizes the available evidence-based practice protocols.