Knowledgeable and Experienced Guidance

Handoffs in health care can lead to patient harm

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

When a patient is in a North Carolina hospital or under the care of a doctor, he or she may receive care from multiple providers. Handoffs are common, whether it’s a surgeon handing off a patient to a nurse post-operation or handing off a patient to another type of provider for a specific type of care. When transferring a patient, it is essential that medical professionals work diligently to avoid errors and mistakes that can lead to harm.

One essential aspect of making sure that handoffs do not result in patient harm is for providers to talk face-to-face. In-person communication can go a long way toward making sure a patient’s needs are met and that the one receiving the patient understands that individual medical situation. An important aspect of this is to avoid distractions during the hand-off process, ensuring that communication between the two parties is complete and thorough.

Before the handoff, it is essential that all patient information be up to date and accurate. The receiving caregiver should know about risks, ongoing concerns and medical history details that will affect the type of care the patient needs. There should be methods and systems in place for communicating well during handoffs.

When not done well, handoffs can result in significant patient harm. It is essential for North Carolina medical professionals to consider how they can reduce mistakes and miscommunication during this process. A few simple steps and better practices can help transfer patients without unnecessary mistakes and errors that result in additional pain and suffering.