Altru Family Medicine Residency

PATIENT HANDOFF POLICY

The Family Medicine Residency recognizes handoffs during hospitalization from one provider to another as critical transitions in patient care.  Poor handoffs have been implicated as a source of adverse events.  Further, the reduction in resident work hours by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has resulted in a greater number of handoffs and the need for greater scrutiny.

To ensure patient safety and effective handoffs, the Residency endorses the recommendations of Arora et al, 2009.  At any time a resident is required to transfer patient care, that resident is expected to provide an effective handoff including interactive communication, up-to-date information with identification of issues requiring further evaluation, relevant historical factors, and anticipated changes to patient status. This should occur without significant interruptions.To that end, the following procedure for residents making patient handoffs on the Family Practice Teaching Service (FPTS) is used:

  • There is dedicated time for verbal exchange of information in morning and evening “sign out rounds”.  Residents on the FPTS are required to report for morning rounds and are blocked from outpatient clinic at the end of the day to provide adequate time to complete handoffs.
  • The chief resident trains and evaluates incoming residents in handoff expectations. Handoffs during evening rounds will also be supervised by core faculty members intermittently through the year and will be recorded in faculty meeting minutes.
  • The verbal exhange of information is interactive, giving priority to sicker patients, with insight on what to expect or do given during the verbal exchange.
  • All patients that are handed off will be included on the patient list.