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Enhancing Patient Safety: Improving the Patient Handoff Process Through Appreciative Inquiry

Shendell-Falik, Nancy MA, RN; Feinson, Michael MBA; Mohr, Bernard J. EdM

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: February 2007 - Volume 37 - Issue 2 - p 95-104

Patient transfers from one care giver to another are an area of high safety consequence, as is evident by many studies and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's Patient Safety Goals. The authors describe how one hospital made measurable improvements in a patient handoff process by using an unconventional approach to change called appreciative inquiry. Rather than identifying the root causes of ineffective handoffs, appreciative inquiry was used to engage staff in identifying and building on their most effective handoff experiences.

Authors' affiliations: Vice President (Ms Shendell-Falik), Patient Care Services, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, NJ; Principal (Mr Feinson), Innovation Partners International, Washington, DC; Principal (Mr Mohr), Innovation Partners International, Portland, Maine.

Corresponding author: Ms Shendell-Falik, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, 201 Lyons Avenue, Newark, NJ 07112 (

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.