Clinical Handover among Physicians: A Survey in a North Eastern Italian Academic Hospital

Rosanna Quattrin, Giulio Menegazzi, Adriana Moccia, Carla Londero, Silvio Brusaferro


Transferring essential information and responsibility for patient care from one health care provider to another is an integral component of patient safety in a hospital. This study aims to collect physician interests and needs about handover before introduction of a standardized tool in a North Eastern Italian Academic Hospital (AH). From October 2014 to December 2014 all physicians working in the AH were asked to fill a web-based questionnaire concerning currently adopted methods to clinical handover and their perception on its. Response rate was 10.5% (90/853). 63.3% (57/90) of physicians showed maximal agreement with the statement “communication failures are related to adverse events” and 40% (36/90) of them completely agreed that “improving handover makes work safer”. Among actually used handover methods (total answers: 157), verbal communication was referred 45.2% times, written notes 26.1%, electronic supports 21.7%. The most frequently reported obstacles to an effective handover (107 answers) were interruptions (27.1%), absence of hospital written protocols (25.2%) and colleague’s inability to provide further information when required (17.7%). Respondents interested to test a new handover procedure were 48.9% (44/90). The low response rate and the fact that only half of respondents were interested in experimenting a new procedure stress the little relevance given by physicians to handover as a key process for patient safety. Furthermore, hazardous methods of transferring information such as verbal communication and non-structured text, combined with referred handover obstacles, suggest the necessity of developing a hospital policy for clinical handover among physicians.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Rosanna Quattrin, Giulio Menegazzi, Adriana Moccia, Carla Londero, Silvio Brusaferro

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Journal of Safety Studies ISSN 2377-3219

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