The effect of a checklist on the quality of patient handover from the operating room to the intensive care unit: A randomized controlled trial

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Purpose:Handover of patient care is a potential safety risk for the patient due to loss of information which may result in adverse outcome. We hypothesized that a checklist for handover from the operating room (OR) to the intensive care unit (ICU) will lead to an increase of quality regarding information transfer compared with a nonstandardized handover procedure.Materials and methods:The study was conducted as a prospective, randomized trial in a university hospital. The quality of handovers with checklist was compared with handovers without checklist. Handovers were recorded by digital voice recorder and analyzed using an individual rating sheet for each patient. This enabled to discriminate between items that “must be handed over” (red items) and items that “should be handed over” (yellow items).Results:A total of 121 patient handovers from OR to ICU were included. Significantly more red items were handed over in the study group compared with the control group (study group: median 87.1%, 25-27 percentile 77.1%-90.0%; control group: median 75.0%, 25-75 percentile 66.7%-88.6%; P < .01).Conclusions:This study gives first evidence that the use of a standardized checklist for patient handover from OR to ICU increases the quantity and quality of transmitted medical information.

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