Handover Research

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Handover is the accurate, reliable communication of task-relevant information between doctors and patients and from one care-giver to another. This occurs in many situations in health care. Improperly conducted handovers lead to wrong treatment, delays in medical diagnosis, life threatening adverse events, patient complaints, increased health care expenditure, increased hospital length of stay and a range of other effects that impact on the health system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists inaccurate handovers as one of its High 5 patient safety initiatives [2]. The need for handover training in undergraduate medical education has been succinctly elucidated [3]. Training and education in handover is fragmented and limited in undergraduate medical curricula. A paucity of research exists investigating interventions to improve handover. Work is needed to establish clear competencies for handover training. Research is required to produce more robust evidence on the effectiveness of educational handover interventions and their ability to facilitate the transfer of skills to the workplace, the ultimate aim of which is to improve patient safety. This change is dependent on a novel combination and integration of the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation to deliver a comprehensive new approach to teaching and learning for handover in medical education.

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