Development and Validation of a Tool to Measure Hand-off Quality

2014-08-27 03:16:15 | BioPortfolio


The aim of this project is to develop and validate a simple, flexible, reliable, real-time observation tool to evaluate hand-off practices. The Hand-off CEX is a paper-based instrument that can be used to evaluate either the sender or the receiver of hand-off communication. This tool is based on a previously-validated, widely-used, real-time educational evaluation tool (the Mini-CEX); published expert opinion; and our prior research . The investigators' tool incorporates unique role-based anchors for both senders and receivers that refer to verbal communication, professionalism and environment, hand-off domains informed by preliminary work and expert opinion. The Hand-off CEX(Clinical Evaluation Exercise) will be used by academic hospitalists and house-staff physicians to assess feasibility. We, the investigators, will also assess the construct validity and inter-rater reliability of the tool through the use of standardized, videotaped hand-off scenarios depicting various levels of performance of a hand-off scenario.

We hypothesize that the Hand-off CEX will arm educators with an innovative, necessary, valid and feasible method for training health professionals to conduct safe and effective hand-offs. Finally, the Hand-off CEX will be a useful tool to assist hospitals in improving patient safety.


Transitions of patient care among inpatient providers occur frequently and require providers to transmit critical clinical information. If information is omitted or misunderstood during a hand-off, serious clinical consequences may result for patient care. In fact, studies have shown that hand-offs are often variable and represent a major gap in safe patient care. For patients cared for by resident physicians, dangers posed by poor communication may be amplified since the implementation of resident duty hour restrictions in July 2003 has increased transfer frequency.In addition, few trainees receive formal training on hand-offs. The Joint Commission currently requires hospitals to implement a standardized, interactive approach to hand-off communications. Unfortunately, due to a lack of valid, standardized tools to evaluate hand-off quality, hospitals and educators cannot assess whether their hand-offs meet these criteria. More recently, the Institute of Medicine has recommended that all residents receive formal education on hand-off strategies.

Education about best practices during hand-offs and assessment of hand-off quality is needed for several reasons: to improve clinical practice through evaluation and feedback, to illuminate areas of deficiency in current practices and to maximize patient safety in this era of duty hour restrictions. At the University of Chicago and Yale, investigators have extensive experience in describing hand-off quality, designing and implementing novel curricula to improve hand-off education amongst varying levels of trainees and have elucidated the relationship between patient care outcomes and poor hand-off quality. Therefore, drawing from our preliminary work in this area, and relevant practices in other industries, we aim to develop and test a generalizable tool to evaluate hand-offs in clinical settings.

Study Design

Observational Model: Cohort, Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional




mock handoff exposure, Introduction of CEX tool in Actual Hand-offs


The University of Chicago Medical Center
United States


Active, not recruiting


University of Chicago

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:16:15-0400

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