The Particulars: Inadequate communication between emergency and critical care team providers has been shown to magnify the potential for serious side effects among critically ill patients with long boarding times. A formal evaluation and handoff process between these teams may improve the quality of communication among team members and enhance patient safety.
Data Breakdown: Study investigators compared the year prior to and the 4 months following implementation of a program in which initial requests for ICU evaluation required face-to-face handoffs and huddles among the ED team to articulate decision and management plans. The average time that it took from EDs calling for ICU evaluation to ICU decisions decreased from 130 minutes to 86 minutes. Average ED boarding times decreased from 238 minutes to 181 minutes.
Take Home Pearl: Formal, in-person handoffs between ED and ICU providers and team huddles for critically ill patients presenting to the ED appear to result in improved communication and patient care.