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Handoff Communication From the Emergency Department to Primary Care

Watkins, Linda M. DNP, RN, FNP-C; Patrician, Patricia A. PhD, RN, FAAN

Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal: January/March 2014 - Volume 36 - Issue 1 - p 44–51
doi: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000003

Handoff communication deficiencies between the emergency department (ED) and primary care have been recognized as the result of delays and/or omissions in follow-up care for patients. This quality improvement project addresses the gaps in follow-up care for patients with low-risk chest pain by implementing an electronic Emergency Provider Written Plan of Discharge (eEPWPD) template to notify primary care providers (PCPs) that follow-up care is needed for their patients. This retrospective study evaluated effectiveness of the template in providing additional diagnostic and follow-up care. Results indicated that following the implementation of the eEPWPD template, follow-up for this population increased significantly. This study provides evidence that standardizing handoff communication from the ED to PCP can improve the quality of patient care by ensuring timely diagnostic and follow-up care.

G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi (Dr Watkins); and University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing (Dr Patrician).

Corresponding Author: Linda M. Watkins, DNP, RN, FNP-C, G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, 1500 E Woodrow Wilson Ave, Jackson, MS 39216 (

Elgenaid Hamadain, PhD, is an associate professor of health sciences in the School of Health Related Professions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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