The Particulars: Handoffs from emergency medicine (EM) to internal medicine (IM) providers at patient admission have not been well characterized on a national level.
Data Breakdown: Among EM and IM residency program directors responding to a survey, 32% rated communication between specialties as “excellent” or “outstanding.” Interaction was rated as “poor” more by IM providers than EM providers (19% vs 5%). Only 37% of EM providers felt policies or training to help guide information transfer were necessary, compared with 87% of IM providers. However, 84% of both specialties agreed that a policy of specific provider responsibility at each handoff stage was needed.
Take Home Pearl: EM and IM providers appear to differ on their perceptions of handoff quality and the need for formal policies to guide these transitions.