Deakin University

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Clinical handover: an audit from Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by H Pascoe, Stephen GillStephen Gill, Andrew HughesAndrew Hughes, M McCall-White
Background The Australian National Safety and Quality Health Service (NHQHS) Standards (the “Standards”) provide external criteria for hospitals to assess their practices. Since the introduction of the Standards, no Australian hospital has published a report on how its handover practices compare to these Standards. Aims To evaluate house medical officer (HMO) shift-to-shift handover practices against the Standards at a large regional hospital. Method All HMOs employed by Barwon Health were invited to participate in our qualitative and quantitative study by completing an online questionnaire and taking part in a focus group. Results Of the 100 HMOs, 61 completed the questionnaire and 11 HMOs participated in focus groups. Questionnaire results revealed that HMOs were concerned about the quality of shift-to-shift handovers. Fifty-three per cent reported that current shift-to-shift handover practices could be putting patients at risk of adverse events. Ninety-eight per cent indicated that the handover processes could be improved. One hundred per cent of the HMOs stated that the quality of handover varies according to the doctors involved. In the focus groups, issues were raised about current handover structure, documentation, attendance, content, and training. Conclusion HMOs in the current study identified multiple deficiencies in handover practice with regard to structure, documentation, attendance, content, and training. The primary methods to improve handover include making it more structured and standardised, and to provide HMOs with handover training.



Australasian medical journal






363 - 371


Australasian Medical Journal


London, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Australasian Medical Journal