An Assessment of Patient Sign-Outs Conducted by University at Buffalo Internal Medicine Residents

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Internal medicine residents were surveyed regarding patient sign-outs at shift change. Data were used to design and implement interventions aimed at improving sign-out quality. This quasi-experimental project incorporated the Plan, Do, Study, Act methodology. Residents completed an anonymous electronic survey regarding experiences during signouts. Survey questions assessed structure, process, and outcome of sign-outs. Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data was performed; interventions were implemented based on survey findings. A total of 120 surveys (89% response) and 115 surveys (83% response) were completed by residents of 4 postgraduate years in response to the first (2008) and second (2009) survey requests, respectively. Approximately 79% of the respondents to the second survey indicated that postintervention sign-out systems were superior to preintervention systems. Results indicated improvement in specific areas of structure, process, and outcome. Survey-based modifications to existing sign-out systems effected measurable quality improvement in structure, process, and outcome.

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