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J Grad Med Educ. 2015 Jun;7(2):174-80. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-14-00205.1.

Evaluating Outcomes of Electronic Tools Supporting Physician Shift-to-Shift Handoffs: A Systematic Review.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Multiple organizations have recognized that handoffs are prone to errors, and there has been an increase in the use of electronic health records and computerized tools in health care.

OBJECTIVE:

This systematic review evaluates the current evidence on the effectiveness of electronic solutions used to support shift-to-shift handoffs.

METHODS:

We searched the English-language literature for research studies published between January 1, 2008, and September 19, 2014, using National Library of Medicine PubMed, EBSCO CINAHL, OvidSP All Journals, and ProQuest PsycINFO. Included studies focused on the evaluation of physician shift-to-shift handoffs and an electronic solution designed to support handoffs. We assessed articles using a quality scoring system, conducted a review of barriers and strategies, and categorized study outcomes into self-report, process, and outcome measures.

RESULTS:

Thirty-seven articles met inclusion criteria, including 20 single group pre- and posttest studies; 8 posttest only or cross-sectional studies; 4 nonrandomized controlled trials; 1 cohort study; 1 randomized crossover study; and 3 qualitative studies. Quality scores ranged from 3.5 to 14 of a possible 16. Most articles documented some positive outcomes, with 2 of the 3 studies evaluating patient outcomes yielding statistically significant improvements. The only other study that analyzed patient outcomes showed that interventions other than the electronic tool were responsible for most of the significant improvements.

CONCLUSIONS:

The majority of studies supported using an electronic tool, yet few measured patient outcomes, and numerous studies suffered from methodology issues. Future studies should evaluate patient outcomes, improve study design, assess the role of faculty oversight, and broaden the focus to recognize the role of human factors.

PMID:
26221430
PMCID:
PMC4512785
DOI:
10.4300/JGME-D-14-00205.1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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