Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top 10 issues in hospital medicine for 2008, issue 4: emergency room handoffs

The handoff between the emergency room physician and the hospitalist is just one of several discontinuities in health care during which patients are vulnerable. Although it has been intuitively known for a good while it earned a place on this year’s top 10 list because of a new study documenting frequent occurrences of patient harm and near misses. This patient safety problem is one of competing agendas: poor communication and handoff errors are driven by administrative pressure on ERs to reduce their wait times and improve “throughput”.

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