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Some Patients May Be Shortchanged During Hospital Shift Changes
Date:11/14/2012

f a billion shift-change handoffs occur in U.S. hospitals each year, the researchers noted.

Handoff conversations have been identified as an important issue in previous research on patient safety problems in hospitals, but training on how to conduct proper handoffs has only recently begun to be offered to health workers. However, these best practices focus on how to hand over one patient, not a group of them, Cohen noted.

Since most handoffs involve multiple patients, the training should reflect that reality, Cohen said. Doing so could lead to improved patient safety.

"Hundreds of millions of handoffs happen in U.S. hospitals every year," Cohen said. "Just an increase of one-tenth of 1 percent in their effectiveness could translate into a large number of prevented injuries and lives saved."

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality outlines ways that patients can help prevent medical errors.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, Nov. 12, 2012


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