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Implementation of an emergency department sign-out checklist improves transfer of information at shift change

Implementation of an emergency department sign-out checklist improves transfer of information at shift change

Journal of Emergency Medicine 47(5): 580-585

Transitions of care are ubiquitous in the emergency department (ED) and inevitably introduce the opportunity for errors. Few emergency medicine residency programs provide formal training or a standard process for patient handoffs. Checklists have been shown to be effective quality-improvement measures in inpatient settings and may be a feasible method to improve ED handoffs. To determine if the use of a sign-out checklist improves the accuracy and efficiency of resident sign-out in the ED. A prospective pre-/postinterventional study of residents rotating in the ED at a tertiary academic medical center. Trained research assistants observed resident sign-out during shift change over a 2-week period and completed a data collection tool to indicate whether or not key components of sign-out occurred and time to sign out each patient. An electronic sign-out checklist was implemented using a multi-faceted educational effort. A 2-week postintervention observation phase was conducted. Proportions, means, and nonparametric comparison tests were calculated using STATA. One hundred fifteen sign-outs were observed prior to checklist implementation and 114 were observed after. Significant improvements were seen in four sign-out components: reporting of history of present illness increased from 81% to 99%, ED course increased from 75% to 86%, likely diagnosis increased from 60% to 77%, and team awareness of plan increased from 21% to 41%. Use of the repeat-back technique decreased from 13% to 5% after checklist implementation and time to sign-out showed no significant change. Implementation of a checklist improved the transfer of information without increasing time to sign-out.

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Accession: 053734384

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25130675

DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2014.06.017

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