Skip to main content
Who's covering our loved ones: surprising barriers in the sign-out process. American journal of surgery Antonoff, M. B., Berdan, E. A., Kirchner, V. A., Krosch, T. C., Holley, C. T., Maddaus, M. A., D'Cunha, J. 2013; 205 (1): 77-84


The aims of this study were to characterize obstacles affecting current sign-out practices and to evaluate the potential impact of standardized sign-out guidelines.In June 2011, detailed guidelines for transitions of care were implemented, and a 29-item multiple-choice survey was developed to assess sign-out practices, attitudes, and barriers to effective communication. Surveys were administered to residents and nurses at 3 time points. Comparisons between time points were assessed using t tests and ?(2) tests (a = .05).Guideline implementation achieved nonsignificant improvements in satisfaction with sign-outs, perceptions of patient safety, adequacy of information provided in sign-out, and patient knowledge by on-call residents. On follow-up, concerns surfaced regarding less complete sign-out processes due to new duty-hour restrictions.Guideline implementation mildly improved perceptions of safety and adequacy of sign-out; however, persistent barriers to continuity of care remain. Sign-out standardization may not adequately ensure patient safety, and further efforts to improve handoff processes are in need.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2012.05.009

View details for PubMedID 22959413