Standardized Reporting System Use During Handoffs Reduces Patient Length of Stay in the Emergency Department

Robert T. Dahlquist, Karina Reyner, Richard D. Robinson, Ali Farzad, Jessica Laureano-Phillips, John S. Garrett, Joseph M. Young, Nestor R. Zenarosa, Hao Wang


Background: Emergency department (ED) shift handoffs are potential sources of delay in care. We aimed to determine the impact that using standardized reporting tool and process may have on throughput metrics for patients undergoing a transition of care at shift change.

Methods: We performed a prospective, pre- and post-intervention quality improvement study from September 1 to November 30, 2015. A handoff procedure intervention, including a mandatory workshop and personnel training on a standard reporting system template, was implemented. The primary endpoint was patient length of stay (LOS). A comparative analysis of differences between patient LOS and various handoff communication methods were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Communication methods were entered a multivariable logistic regression model independently as risk factors for patient LOS.

Results: The final analysis included 1,006 patients, with 327 comprising the pre-intervention and 679 comprising the post-intervention populations. Bedside rounding occurred 45% of the time without a standard reporting during pre-intervention and increased to 85% of the time with the use of a standard reporting system in the post-intervention period (P < 0.001). Provider time (provider-initiated care to patient care completed) in the pre-intervention period averaged 297 min, but decreased to 265 min in the post-intervention period (P < 0.001). After adjusting for other communication methods, the use of a standard reporting system during handoff was associated with shortened ED LOS (OR = 0.60, 95% CI 0.40 - 0.90, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Standard reporting system use during emergency physician handoffs at shift change improves ED throughput efficiency and is associated with shorter ED LOS.

J Clin Med Res. 2018;10(5):445-451


Emergency department; Handoff; Standard reporting system

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