A Conceptual Framework for Studying the Safety of Transitions in Emergency Care
AGENCY FOR HEALTHCARE RESEARCH AND QUALITY ROCKVILLE MD
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In health care organizations, the division of labor and a need for continuous, 24-hour treatment subjects patients to multiple transitions in care. These transitions, of handovers are potential points of failure that have seen very little study. We observed transitions of care in five hospital emergency departments as part of a larger study on safety in emergency care and found that in addition to many other differences in work patterns among the various hospitals, very different sorts of handovers occurred in different contexts, and these differences appeared to reflect a common structure. Using these observations, we have proposed a conceptual framework for characterizing handover events. The ability to characterize certain types of transitions may help to clarify future studies, while assisting in the development of interventions to better fit the context of clinical work.
- Medicine and Medical Research