Physician Handover is one of the most important issues to consider when ensuring the continuity of patient care. Continuity of information related to all aspects of patient care is vital to ensure patient safety. With the changes in doctors ‘working hours and increasing demand for flexible work practices (e.g. part-time work) – both of which inevitably increase the number of individuals caring for each patient – the need for comprehensive handover of Physician information is more important than ever.
Physician Handover is ‘the transfer of professional responsibility and accountability for all aspects of care for a patient, or group of patients, to another person.
The aim of any handover is to achieve the efficient communication of high-quality Physician information at any time when the responsibility for patient care is transferred. Good handover is at the heart of an effective health care system and stands alongside patient Physician documentation, letters of referral and transfer and discharge documentation. Together, these make up the links in the chain of continuity of patient care. Handover requires systemic and individual attention and needs education, support, facilitation and sustained effort to ensure it maintains a position of importance.
Handover should be at a fixed time and of sufficient length. In addition to the larger, more formal handover there will inevitably be smaller local handovers occurring daily (such as on ICU or admissions unit). Ineffective handover can lead to incorrect treatment, delays in diagnosis, life threatening adverse events, patient complaints, increased health care expenditure, increased length of stay, and a range of other effects.
Effective communication in all aspects of the patient care process is most significant to ensuring patient safety. Handover communication between the clinicians is carried out through “Handoff communication”. SBAR Methodology was using in Hand communication, which consists Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation related to the patient care will be documented in handoff form and during the shift change, this communicating tool will facilitate in effective communication.
Good physician handover benefits to the patient in terms of safety are protected, less discontinuity of the patient care with improved customer satisfaction. Challenges for effective communication is lack of dedicated time to complete patient notes and participate in handover, Omission of important information, frequent movement of patients between wards and departments sometimes without the doctor’s knowledge. Effective Physician handover offers benefits in addition to the transfer of information from one team to another by providing opportunities for,
- Doctors to seek second opinions
- Junior doctors to seek supervision
- Doctors to debrief
- Reminders to be given to follow-up results
- The early referral of patients to other disciplines
In health care scenario, handover communication plays vital role to sustaining and ensuring patient safety. Comprehensive Physician handover supports to improve the safety of patient care because critical information is more likely to be transferred and acted upon.
To learn more about the patient safety and best treatment at Apollo Hospitals with complete patient safety consult top physicians in India. For consulting physicians in other cities in India visit the below links:
Dr. Hemalatha Senthil
Apollo Hospitals, Chennai