Using *ORA, a Network Analysis Tool, to Assess the Relationship of Handoffs to Quality and Safety Outcomes

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Communication during patient handoffs has been widely implicated in patient safety issues. However, few studies have actually been able to quantify the relationship between handoffs and patient outcomes. We used *ORA, a dynamic network analysis tool, to examine handoffs between day and night shifts on seven units in three hospitals in the Southwest. Using *ORA’s visualization and analysis capabilities, we examined the relationships between the handoff communication network metrics and a variety of patient safety quality and satisfaction outcomes. Unique network patterns were observed for different types of outcome variable (eg, safety, symptom management, self-care, and patient satisfaction). This exploratory project demonstrates the power of *ORA to identify communication patterns for large groups, such as patient care units. *ORA’s network metrics can then be related to specific patient outcomes.

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