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      “Chase CRP”, “Review patient”: Improving the Quality of Weekend Medical Handover at a London Teaching Hospital

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      BMJ Quality Improvement Reports

      British Publishing Group

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          Clinical handover has been identified as a “major preventable cause of harm” by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). Whilst working at a London teaching hospital from August 2013, we noted substandard weekend handover of medical patients. The existing pro forma was filled incompletely by day doctors so it was difficult for weekend colleagues to identify unwell patients, with inherent safety implications. Furthermore, on-call medical staff noted that poor accessibility of vital information in patients' files was affecting acute clinical management. We audited the pro formas over a six week period (n=83) and the Friday ward round (WR) entries for medical inpatients over two weekends (n=84) against the RCP's handover guidance. The results showed poor documentation of several important details on the pro formas, for example, ceiling of care (4%) and past medical history (PMH) (23%). Problem lists were specified on 62% of the WR entries. We designed new handover pro formas and ‘Friday WR sheets’ to provide prompts for this information and used Medical Meetings and emails to explain the project's aims. Re-audit demonstrated significant improvement in all parameters; for instance, PMH increased to 52% on the pro formas. Only 10% of Friday WR entries used our sheet. However, when used, outcomes were much better, for example, problem list documentation increased to 100%. In conclusion, our interventions improved the provision of crucial information needed to prioritise and manage patients over the weekend. Future work should further highlight the importance of safe handover to all doctors to induce a shift in culture and optimise patient care.

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          An experimental comparison of handover methods.

          With the increase in shift pattern work for junior doctors in the NHS, accurate handover of patient clinical information is of great importance. There is no published method that forms the gold standard of handover and there are large variations in practice. This study aims to compare the reliability of three different handover methods. We observed the handover of 12 simulated patients over five consecutive handover cycles between SHOs on a one-to-one basis. Three handover styles were used and a numerical scoring system assessed clinical information lost per handover cycle. After five handover cycles, only 2.5% of patient information was retained using the verbal-only handover method, 85.5% was retained when using the using the verbal with note taking method and 99% was retained when a printed handout containing all patient information was used. When patient information is handed over by the verbal only method, very few facts are retained; therefore, this method should be avoided whenever possible. Verbal handover with note taking is shown to be an effective method of handover in our study, although we accept that this is an artificial scenario and may not reflect the reality of a busy hospital. Nearly all information is retained by the printed handout method but this relies on the handout being regularly updated.

            Author and article information

            BMJ Qual Improv Rep
            BMJ Qual Improv Rep
            BMJ Quality Improvement Reports
            British Publishing Group
            24 November 2015
            : 4
            : 1
            Charing Cross Hospital
            Author notes
            [Correspondence to ] Aamir Saifuddin aamirsaifuddin87@
            © 2015, Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See:

            BMJ Quality Improvement Programme


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