Written patient handoffs are susceptible to errors or incompleteness. The accuracy is dependent on the person inputting the information. Thus, handoff printouts generated by electronic health records (EHR) with automation reduces the risk of transcription errors and improves consistency in format. This single-center quality improvement project aims to increase the accuracy of handoff printouts with an EHR-generated handoff tool.
This project used a plan-do-study-act methodology. Participants included registered nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal hospitalists, pediatric residents, neonatal fellows, and neonatologists. The goals were to (1) increase accuracy of information to 80%, (2) reduce verbal handoff time by 20%, (3) reduce the frequency of incorrectly listed medications below 20%, and (4) improve user satisfaction by 1 point (on a 5-point Likert scale) over 6 months. Baseline assessment included a survey and a review of handoff reports 4 months before transitioning to the new handoff tool. We created a new handoff tool using EHR autogenerated phrases (Epic SmartPhrases) and autopopulated fields for pertinent Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patient data.
After the unit-wide implementation of the new tool, the accuracy of 16 patient data points increased from 51% to 97%, while the frequency of patients with incorrectly listed medications decreased from 51% to 0%. Handoff time remained unchanged, while a 5-question user satisfaction survey showed an increase on the Likert scale.
We demonstrated that handoff printouts generated by EHR have fewer inaccuracies than manually scripted versions and do not add to the time required to give verbal handoff.

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