Characterising physician listening behaviour during hospitalist handoffs using the HEAR checklist
ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: The increasing fragmentation of healthcare has resulted in more patient handoffs. Many professional groups, including the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education and the Society of Hospital Medicine, have made recommendations for safe and effective handoffs. Despite the two-way nature of handoff communication, the focus of these efforts has largely been on the person giving information. OBJECTIVE: To observe and characterise the listening behaviours of handoff receivers during hospitalist handoffs. DESIGN: Prospective observational study of shift change and service change handoffs on a non-teaching hospitalist service at a single academic tertiary care institution. MEASUREMENTS: The 'HEAR Checklist', a novel tool created based on review of effective listening behaviours, was used by third party observers to characterise active and passive listening behaviours and interruptions during handoffs. RESULTS: In 48 handoffs (25 shift change, 23 service change), active listening behaviours (eg, read-back (17%), note-taking (23%) and reading own copy of the written signout (27%)) occurred less frequently than passive listening behaviours (eg, affirmatory statements (56%) nodding (50%) and eye contact (58%)) (p<0.01). Read-back occurred only eight times (17%). In 11 handoffs (23%) receivers took notes. Almost all (98%) handoffs were interrupted at least once, most often by side conversations, pagers going off, or clinicians arriving. Handoffs with more patients, such as service change, were associated with more interruptions (r=0.46, p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Using the 'HEAR Checklist', we can characterise hospitalist handoff listening behaviours. While passive listening behaviours are common, active listening behaviours that promote memory retention are rare. Handoffs are often interrupted, most commonly by side conversations. Future handoff improvement efforts should focus on augmenting listening and minimising interruptions.
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ABSTRACT: Increasing frequency of shift-to-shift handoffs coupled with regulatory requirements to evaluate handoff quality make a handoff evaluation tool necessary. To develop a handoff evaluation tool. Tool development. Two academic medical centers. Nurse practitioners, medicine housestaff, and hospitalist attendings. Concurrent peer and external evaluations of shift-to-shift handoffs. The Handoff CEX (clinical evaluation exercise) consists of 6 subdomains and 1 overall assessment, each scored from 1 to 9, where 1 to 3 is unsatisfactory and 7 to 9 is superior. We assessed range of scores, performance among subgroups, internal consistency, and agreement among types of raters. We conducted 675 evaluations of 97 unique individuals during 149 handoff sessions. Scores ranged from unsatisfactory to superior in each domain. The highest rated domain for handoff providers was professionalism (median: 8; interquartile range [IQR]: 7-9); the lowest was content (median: 7; IQR: 6-8). Scores at the 2 institutions were similar, and scores did not differ significantly by training level. Spearman correlation coefficients among the CEX subdomains for provider scores ranged from 0.71 to 0.86, except for setting (0.39-0.40). Third-party external evaluators consistently gave lower marks for the same handoff than peer evaluators did. Weighted kappa scores for provider evaluations comparing external evaluators to peers ranged from 0.28 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.01, 0.56) for setting to 0.59 (95% CI: 0.38, 0.80) for organization. This handoff evaluation tool was easily used by trainees and attendings, had high internal consistency, and performed similarly across institutions. Because peers consistently provided higher scores than external evaluators, this tool may be most appropriate for external evaluation. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:191-200. © 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine.Journal of Hospital Medicine 04/2013; 8(4):191-200. DOI:10.1002/jhm.2023 · 2.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Loss of situation awareness (SA) by health professionals during handover is a major threat to patient safety in perinatal care. SA refers to knowing what is going on around. Adequate handover communication and process may support situation assessment, a precursor of SA. This study describes current practices and opinions of perinatal handover to identify potential improvements. Structured direct observations of shift-to-shift patient handovers (n = 70) in an academic perinatal setting were used to measure handover communication (presence and order of levels of SA: current situation, background, assessment and recommendation) and process (duration, interruptions/distractions, eye contact, active inquiry and reading information back). Afterwards, receivers' opinions of handover communication (n = 51) were measured by means of a questionnaire. All levels of SA were present in 7% of handovers, the current situation in 86%, the background in 99%, an assessment in 24% and a recommendation in 46%. In 77% of handovers the background was mentioned first, followed by the current situation. Forty-four per cent of handovers took 2 minutes or more per patient. In 52% distractions occurred, in 43% there was no active inquiry, in 32% no eye contact and in 97% information was not read back. The overall mean of the receivers' opinions of handover communication was 4.1 (standard deviation ± 0.7; scale 1-5, where 5 is excellent). Perinatal handovers are currently at risk for inadequate situation assessment because of variability and limitations in handover communication and process. However, receivers' opinions of handover communication were very positive, indicating a lack of awareness of patient safety threats during handover. Therefore, the staff's awareness of current limitations should be raised, for example through video reflection or simulation training.Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 12/2013; 20(2). DOI:10.1111/jep.12103 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although there is a growing recognition of the importance of active communication behaviours from the incoming clinician receiving a patient handover, there are currently no agreed-upon measures to objectively describe those behaviours. This study sought to identify differences in incoming clinician communication behaviours across levels of clinical training for physicians and nurses. Handover observations were conducted during shift changes for attending physicians, resident physicians, registered nurses and nurse practitioners in three medical intensive care units from July 2011 to August 2012. Measures were the number of interjections from the incoming clinician and the communication mode of those interjections. Each collaborative cross-check, a specific type of interactive question, was subsequently classified by level of assertiveness. 133 patient handovers were analysed. Statistical differences were found in both measures. Higher levels of training were associated with fewer interjections, and a higher proportion of interactive questioning to detect erroneous assessments and actions by the incoming provider. All groups were observed to use the least assertive level of a collaborative cross-check, which contributed to misunderstandings. Nurses used less assertive collaborative cross-checks than physicians. Differences across clinician type and levels of clinical training were found in both measures during patient handovers. The findings suggest that training could enable physicians and nurses to learn communication competencies during patient handovers which were used more frequently by more experienced practitioners, including interjecting less frequently and using interactive questioning strategies to clarify understanding, and assertively question the appropriateness of diagnoses, treatment plans and prognoses. Accompanying cultural change initiatives might be required to routinely employ these strategies in the clinical setting, particularly for nursing personnel.BMJ quality & safety 12/2013; DOI:10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002341 · 3.28 Impact Factor