Formal Education Not Enough To Teach Effective Patient Handoffs Among Medical Residents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nicholas A. Rattray, Ph.D.Research Scientist/InvestigatorVA HSR&D Center for Health Information and CommunicationImplementation Core, Precision Monitoring to Transform Care (PRISM) QUERIRichard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical CenterIndiana University Center for Health Services & Outcomes ResearchRegenstrief Institute, Inc.Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Rattray

Nicholas A. Rattray, Ph.D.
Research Scientist/Investigator
VA HSR&D Center for Health Information and Communication
Implementation Core, Precision Monitoring to Transform Care (PRISM) QUERI
Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Indiana University Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research
Regenstrief Institute, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana


on behalf of study co-authors re:
Rattray NA, Flanagan ME, Militello LG, Barach P, Franks Z, Ebright P, Rehman SU,
Gordon HS, Frankel RM

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: End-of-shift handoffs pose a substantial patient safety risk. The transition of care from one doctor to another has been associated with delays in diagnosis and treatment, duplication of tests or treatment and patient discomfort, inappropriate care, medication errors and longer hospital stays with more laboratory testing. Handoff education varies widely in medical schools and residency training programs. Although there have been efforts to improve transfers of care, they have not shown meaningful improvement.

Led for the last decade by Richard Frankel, Ph.D., a senior health scientist at Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University and professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, our team has studied how health practitioners communicate during end-of-shift handoffs. In this current study, funded by VA Health Services and Research Development, we conducted interviews with 35 internal medicine and surgery residents at three VA medical centers about a recent handoff and analyzed the responses. Our team also video-recorded and analyzed more than 150 handoffs.

Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, this study explains how the person receiving the handoff can affect the interaction. Medical residents said they changed their delivery based on the doctor or resident who was taking over (i.e., training level, preference for fewer details, day or night shift). We found that handoff communication involves a complex combination of socio-technical information where residents balance relational factors against content and risk. It is not a mechanistic process of merely transferring clinical data but rather is based on learned habits of communication that are context-sensitive and variable, what we refer to as “recipient design”.

In another paper led by Laura Militello, we focus on how residents cognitively prepare for handoffs. In the paper published in The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety®, researchers detailed the tasks involved in cognitively preparing for handoffs. A third paper, published in BMC Medical Education, reports on the limited training that physicians receive during their residency. Residents said they were only partially prepared for enacting handoffs as interns, and clinical experience and enacting handoffs actually taught them the most.

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Medical Record Doesn’t Always Reflect Medications Patient Actually Taking

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Portable Information station, nurse, computer, hand wipes, 9th floor, Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, Washington, USA" by Wonderlane is licensed under CC BY 2.0Timothy Ryan PhD

This work was performed while Dr. Ryan was at
Precera Biosciences, 393 Nichol Mill Lane
Frankluin, Tennessee 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The study design is quite simple.  We measured medication concentrations in patients, then compared empirically detected medications with prescribed medications in each patient’s medical record.  We used this information to estimate how many prescribed medications patients had actually taken and how often they took medications that were not in their medical record.  The later comparison is a particularly novel measure of the number and types of medications taken by patients unbeknownst to healthcare providers who use the medical record as a guide to patient care.

Further, the test was performed in blood and not urine, so we could obtain an estimate of how often patients were in range for medications that they did take – at least for medications where the therapeutic range for blood concentrations are well established.

In sum, we found that patients do not take all of their medications, the medical records are not an accurate indicator of the medications that patients ingest, and that even when taken as prescribed, medications are often out of therapeutic range.  The majority of out-of-range medications were present at subtherapeutic levels.  Continue reading

15% of Ibuprofen Users May Take More Than Recommended Dose

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“#Headache situation #ibuprofen” by Khairil Zhafri is licensed under CC BY 2.0David Kaufman, ScD

Director, Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston Universit
Professor of Epidemiolog
Boston University School of Public Health 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most-used medicines in the US, but, if too much is taken, can cause harm.

This was an internet-based diary study.  1326 individuals who reported taking an ibuprofen medication in the preceding month completed a daily diary of their NSAID use for one week.  The daily dosage ingested was computed from the diary, which allowed us to determine whether a user exceed the recommended daily maximum dose.

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Better Patient Safety Linked to Lower Hospital Readmission Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sheila Eckenrode, RN, CPHQ
Project Manager
Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS)
Qualidigm

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We sought to investigate the association at the hospital-level between 21 in-hospital adverse event rates and both mortality and readmission rates for Medicare Fee-For-Service patients with AMI. We used data from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS), the nation’s largest randomly selected hospital medical record-abstracted patient safety database, and data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which includes hospital performance on mortality and readmissions for over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals, to assess the association between hospital performance on patient safety and hospital performance on 30-day all-cause mortality and readmissions for Medicare fee-for-service patients discharged with AMI.

We found that hospital performance on patient safety is associated with hospital performance on mortality and readmission rates for AMI. Hospitals with poorer patient safety performance are likely to have higher 30-day all-cause mortality and readmission rates for these patients.

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Team Approach Improved Patient Safety From Cath Lab Procedures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeremiah R. Brown, PhD MS Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Clinical Practic The Dartmouth Institute Lebanon, NHMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeremiah R. Brown, PhD MS
Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Clinical Practic
The Dartmouth Institute
Lebanon, NH

 

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Brown: Using simple team-based quality improvement methods we prevented kidney injury in 20% of patients having a procedure in the cardiac catheterization lab.  Among patients with pre-existing kidney disease, we prevent kidney injury in 30% of patients.

We believed that using a team-based approach and having teams at different medical centers in northern New England learn from one-another to provide the best care possible for their patients.  Some of the most innovative ideas came from these teams and identified simple solutions to protect patients from kidney injury from the contrast dye exposure; these included:

  • Getting patients to self-hydrate with water before the procedure (8 glasses of water before and after the procedure),
  • Allow patient to drink fluids up to 2-hours before the procedure (whereas before they were “NPO” for up to 12 hours and came in dehydrated),
  • Training the doctors to use less contrast in the procedure (which is good for the patient and saves the hospital money),
  • and creating stops in the system to delay a procedure if that patient had not received enough oral or IV fluids before the case (rather, they would delay the case until the patient received adequate fluids).Our success was really about hospital teams talking and innovating with one another instead of competing in the health care market, which resulted in simple, homegrown, easy to do solutions that improved patient safety.

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