Hospitals could take lessons from the Navy to improve patient handoffs

Hospitals are attempting to improve patient handoffs by taking cues from industries including the Navy, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

The article states that communication problems, including patient handoffs, account for up to 80% of adverse events in hospitals.  Problems with patient handoffs include illegible shorthand, interruptions, and lack of standard handoff procedures. 

Kaiser Permanente is adopting techniques enforced in the Navy to improve the handoff process.  In the navy, all crewmembers use a universal shift change policy that ensures that critical information is relayed to their relief in the same way each time.  

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, April 19, 2011; Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com, April 18, 2011)