ACOG Offers Communication Strategies to Improve Patient Handoffs

February 10, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Properly executed patient handoffs should be interactive and allow the opportunity for questions and answers, according to a February 2012 committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). For a safe and effective handoff to occur, every important aspect of a patient’s condition must be accurately communicated from one party to another and then acknowledged. ACOG suggests that a standardized approach to the handoff process should include interactive communications, limited interruptions, a process for verification, and an opportunity to review any relevant historical data. The committee opinion addresses several factors that may affect communication processes, including the physical environment, confidentiality, language, organizational culture, communication method, and documentation.

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