Standardization with a Checklist May Improve Information Exchange In OR to PACU Handoffs

June 2015

A recent study appearing in the June 2015 edition of the Journal of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation reported the findings of a small study examining operating room (OR) to post anesthesia care unit (PACU) handoffs, specifically handoffs from anesthesia residents to pacu nurses.

The authors examined the impact of a checklist intervention on the exchange of information and the amount of time required for the handoff communication. The authors collected pre-intervention baseline data which served as their control.

Handoffs observed after the checklist intervention was introduced, as compared to the baseline handoffs observed, included significantly more of the handoff content items appearing on the checklist. The authors also noted that the handoffs took longer, on average, in the post intervention group as compared to the baseline group (126 seconds versus 101 seconds, respectively).