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Designing Learning Outcomes for Handoff Teaching of Medical Students Using Group Concept Mapping: Findings From a Multicountry European Study

Hynes, Helen MB, BCh, BAO, MSc; Stoyanov, Slavi PhD; Drachsler, Hendrik PhD; Maher, Bridget MB, BCh, BAO, MSc; Orrego, Carola BSn, MSc; Stieger, Lina Dipl-Psych; Druener, Susanne MA; Sopka, Sasa MD; Schröder, Hanna MD; Henn, Patrick MB, BCh, BAO, MSc, MA

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000642
Research Reports

Purpose: To develop, by consultation with an expert group, agreed learning outcomes for the teaching of handoff to medical students using group concept mapping.

Method: In 2013, the authors used group concept mapping, a structured mixed-methods approach, applying both quantitative and qualitative measures to identify an expert group’s common understanding about the learning outcomes for training medical students in handoff. Participants from four European countries generated and sorted ideas, then rated generated themes by importance and difficulty to achieve. The research team applied multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis to analyze the themes.

Results: Of 127 experts invited, 45 contributed to the brainstorming session. Twenty-two of the 45 (48%) completed pruning, sorting, and rating phases. They identified 10 themes with which to select learning outcomes and operationally define them to form a basis for a curriculum on handoff training. The themes “Being able to perform handoff accurately” and “Demonstrate proficiency in handoff in workplace” were rated as most important. “Demonstrate proficiency in handoff in simulation” and “Engage with colleagues, patients, and carers” were rated most difficult to achieve.

Conclusions: The study identified expert consensus for designing learning outcomes for handoff training for medical students. Those outcomes considered most important were among those considered most difficult to achieve. There is an urgent need to address the preparation of newly qualified doctors to be proficient in handoff at the point of graduation; otherwise, this is a latent error within health care systems. This is a first step in this process.

H. Hynes is a lecturer in clinical science and practice, School of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

S. Stoyanov is senior research fellow, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Open Universiteit Nederland, Heerlen, The Netherlands.

H. Drachsler is assistant professor of Technology-Enhanced Learning, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Open Universiteit Nederland, Heerlen, The Netherlands.

B. Maher is senior lecturer in medical education, School of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

C. Orrego is project director for patient safety and innovation, Avedis Donabedian Institute, Barcelona, Spain.

L. Stieger is a researcher, Aachen Interdisciplinary Centre for Training in Medical Education (AIXTRA), Skills Lab of the Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.

S. Druener is a researcher, Aachen Interdisciplinary Centre for Training in Medical Education (AIXTRA), Skills Lab of the Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.

S. Sopka is a consultant in anesthesiology and emergency medicine and head, Aachen Interdisciplinary Centre for Training in Medical Education (AIXTRA), Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.

H. Schröder is a second-year resident, Department of Anaesthesiology, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen University, and researcher, Aachen Interdisciplinary Centre for Training in Medical Education (AIXTRA), Aachen, Germany.

P. Henn is lecturer in medical education, School of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Funding/Support: The European Union Erasmus Multilateral Projects program funded the Patient Project. Project number 527620-LLP-1-2012-1-NL-ERASMUS-FEXI.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: As this was an educational study conducted in established educational settings involving normal educational practices and no subjects were involved, the study was exempt from ethical approval under the guidelines of the clinical research ethics committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals, University College Cork.

Correspondence should be addressed to Patrick Henn, School of Medicine, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; telephone: (353) 86-2615043; e-mail: p.henn@ucc.ie.

© 2015 by the Association of American Medical Colleges