Characterising physician listening behaviour during hospitalist handoffs using the HEAR checklist.

Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, , Chicago, Illinois, USA.
BMJ quality & safety (Impact Factor: 3.28). 12/2012; DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001138
Source: PubMed

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.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND The most recent iteration of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education duty-hour regulations includes language mandating handoff education for trainees and assessments of handoff quality by residency training programs. However, there is a lack of validated tools for the assessment of handoff quality and for use in trainee education.METHODS Faculty at 2 sites (University of Chicago and Yale University) were recruited to participate in a workshop on handoff education. Video-based scenarios were developed to represent varying levels of performance in the domains of communication, professionalism, and setting. Videos were shown in a random order, and faculty were instructed to use the Handoff Mini-Clinical Examination Exercise (CEX), a paper-based instrument with qualitative anchors defining each level of performance, to rate the handoffs.RESULTSForty-seven faculty members (14 at site 1; 33 at site 2) participated in the validation workshops, providing a total of 172 observations (of a possible 191 [96%]). Reliability testing revealed a Cronbach α of 0.81 and Kendall coefficient of concordance of 0.59 (>0.6 = high reliability). Faculty were able to reliably distinguish the different levels of performance in each domain in a statistically significant fashion (ie, unsatisfactory professionalism mean 2.42 vs satisfactory professionalism 4.81 vs superior professionalism 6.01, P < 0.001 trend test). Two-way analysis of variance revealed no evidence of rater bias.CONCLUSIONS Using standardized video-based scenarios highlighting differing levels of performance, we were able to demonstrate evidence that the Handoff Mini-CEX can draw reliable and valid conclusions regarding handoff performance. Future work to validate the tool in clinical settings is warranted. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2014. © 2014 Society of Hospital Medicine
    Journal of Hospital Medicine 03/2014; 9(7). · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Concerns about the role of communication failures in adverse events coupled with the success of checklists in addressing safety hazards have engendered a movement to apply structured tools to a wide variety of clinical communication practices. While standardised, structured approaches are appropriate for certain activities, their usefulness diminishes considerably for practices that entail constructing rich understandings of complex situations and the handling of ambiguities and unpredictable variation. Drawing on a prominent social science theory of cognition, this article distinguishes between two radically different modes of human thought, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The paradigmatic mode organises context-free knowledge into categorical hierarchies that emphasise member-to-category relations in order to apply universal truth conditions. The narrative mode, on the other hand, organises context-sensitive knowledge into temporal plots that emphasise part-to-whole relations in order to develop meaningful, holistic understandings of particular events or identities. Both modes are crucial to human cognition but are appropriate responses for different kinds of tasks and situations. Many communication-intensive practices in which patient cases are communicated, such as handoffs, rely heavily on the narrative mode, yet most interventions assume the paradigmatic mode. Improving the safety and effectiveness of these practices, therefore, necessitates greater attention to narrative thinking.
    BMJ quality & safety 04/2014; · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite its place at the heart of inpatient medicine, the evidence base underpinning the effective delivery of medical ward care is highly fragmented. Clinicians familiar with the selection of evidence-supported treatments for specific diseases may be less aware of the evolving literature surrounding the organisation of care on the medical ward. This review is the first synthesis of that disparate literature. An iterative search identified relevant publications, using terms pertaining to medical ward environments, and objective and subjective patient outcomes. Articles (including reviews) were selected on the basis of their focus on medical wards, and their relevance to the quality and safety of ward-based care. Responses to medical ward failings are grouped into five common themes: staffing levels and team composition; interdisciplinary communication and collaboration; standardisation of care; early recognition and treatment of the deteriorating patient; and local safety climate. Interventions in these categories are likely to improve the quality and safety of care in medical wards, although the evidence supporting them is constrained by methodological limitations and inadequate investment in multicentre trials. Nonetheless, with infrequent opportunities to redefine their services, institutions are increasingly adopting multifaceted strategies that encompass groups of these themes. As the literature on the quality of inpatient care moves beyond its initial focus on the intensive care unit and operating theatre, physicians should be mindful of opportunities to incorporate evidence-based practice at a ward level.
    European Journal of Internal Medicine 11/2014; · 2.30 Impact Factor