Archive May 2018 XIX, No. 5

Ideas That Work: On the Move

Handoff Tool Improves Speed and Safety

Outpatient Surgery Editors


Handoff Tool
TEAR AND GO A carbon copy sheet keeps patients moving from pre-op to the ORs.

Staff in our hospital's pre-op areas, ORs and PACU had developed their own handoff communication tools — handwritten notes, index cards — to relay important clinical information as patients moved along the perioperative pathway. That lack of standardization led to miscommunications that could have resulted in patient harm, so we identified critical information that needs to travel with patients — medication allergies, blood glucose levels and vital signs, for example — and created a handoff tool in an easy-to-read checkbox and fill-in-the-blank format. The tool consists of 2 sheets: Pre-op staff fill out the top form and the OR and PACU teams note info on the second one. A local print shop helped us design the format and produce the sheets. Here's a neat efficiency-enhancing part of the tool: The top sheet is made with carbon copy paper. Pre-op nurses, who are responsible for entering a lot of information into our hospital's electronic health record and under a time crunch to do so, can tear off the top sheet as a reference while patients — and the carbon copy of their pre-op info — move to the ORs.

Rebecca Roe, BSN, RN, CNOR
Northside Hospital Forsyth
Cumming, Ga.

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