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Improving patient safety in cardiothoracic surgery: an audit of surgical handover in a tertiary center

Authors Bauer NJ

Received 25 February 2016

Accepted for publication 23 March 2016

Published 27 May 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 309—310

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S107189

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Maria Olenick

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Natasha Johan Bauer

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK

Background: Novel research has revealed that the relative risk of death increased by 10% and 15% for admissions on a Saturday and Sunday, respectively. With an imminent threat of 7-day services in the National Health Service, including weekend operating lists, handover plays a pivotal role in ensuring patient safety is paramount. This audit evaluated the quality, efficiency, and safety of surgical handover of pre- and postoperative cardiothoracic patients in a tertiary center against guidance on Safe Handover published by the Royal College of Surgeons of ­England and the British Medical Association.
Methods:
A 16-item questionnaire prospectively audited the nature, time and duration of handover, patient details, operative history and current clinical status, interruptions during handover, and difficulties cross-covering specialties over a month.
Results: Just over half (52%) of the time, no handover took place. The majority of handovers (64%) occurred over the phone; two-thirds of these were uninterrupted. All handovers were less than 10 minutes in duration. About half of the time, the senior house officer had previously met the registrar involved in the handover, but the overwhelming majority felt it would facilitate the handover process if they had prior contact. Patient details handed over 100% of the time included name, ward, and current clinical diagnosis. A third of the time, the patient’s age, responsible consultant, and recent operations or procedures were not handed over, potentially compromising future management due to delays and lack of relevant information. Perhaps the most revealing result was that the overall safety of handover was perceived to be five out of ten, with ten being very safe with no aspects felt to impact negatively on optimal patient care.
Conclusion: These findings were presented to the department, and a handover proforma was implemented. Recommendations included the need for a new face-to-face handover. A reaudit will evaluate the effects of these changes.

Keywords: audit, handover pro forma, cardiothoracic surgery

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