Pediatric Residents Training in New 'Handoff' Curriculum

By Juliana Bunim

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital sign

In response to mounting evidence that serious errors in hospitals often could be prevented by enhancing communication, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is participating in the nine-center I-PASS study to determine how to best teach residents to properly hand off pediatric patients to reduce errors.

Currently, there is no national standard for the transition of care of patients. Hospital handoffs occur upon admission, at shift changes, before and after procedures, upon unit changes, and at discharge. Most residents are never taught how to hand off patients, but simply learn it by observing senior residents without any formal protocol.

“This new handoff curriculum has been developed, and because of it, we now have measures to document that our residents are acquiring these new skills,” said Glenn Rosenbluth, MD, the I-PASS site director at UCSF and director of Quality and Safety Programs for the UCSF School of Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education team. “It is really unique as an NIH [National Institutes of Health]-funded study, in that we put together a combination of health service researchers, medical educators and clinicians all collaborating to increase patient safety.”

The I-PASS initiative was developed at Boston Children's Hospital, and is supported by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The next phase of the research at UCSF includes a study this summer with medical students, and the creation of Ob/Gyn-specific modules developed in conjunction with UCSF Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The UCSF researchers continue to present this work at national conferences outside of pediatrics, including the meeting of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the Society of Hospital Medicine 2013 meeting later this year.

Read more about UCSF's participation in the I-PASS study:

New Curriculum Teaches Pediatric Residents Proper Handoffs to Maximize Patient Safety