Computer-assisted communication is shown to prevent critical omissions (“errors”) in the handoff process.
The aim of the study was to study this effect and related provider satisfaction, using a standardized software.
Fourteen internal medicine house officers staffed 6 days and 1 cross-covering teams were randomized to either the intervention group or control, employing usual handoff, so that handoff information was exchanged only between same-group subjects (daily, for 28 days).
In the intervention group, fewer omissions (among those studied) occurred intravenous access (17 versus 422, P < 0.001), code status (1 versus 158, P < 0.001), diet/nothing per mouth (28 versus 477, P < 0.001), and deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis (17 versus 284, P < 0.001); duration to compose handoff was similar; and physicians perceived less workload adjusted for patient census and provider characteristics (P = 0.004) as well as better handoff quality (P < 0.001) and clarity (P < 0.001).
The intervention was associated with fewer errors and superior provider satisfaction.