New Resources - Supplemental Learning: Handoffs


Hand offs 


Section Contributors: Lauren Destino, Shilpa Patel, Nancy Spector, Amy Starmer  


Online Resources: 


  1. Spector N, Starmer A et al. MedEdPORTAL: I-PASS Handoff Curriculum: Core Resident Workshop 


This is a 2 hour didactic and interactive session on team training in structured communication techniques, as well as a standardized approach to the verbal and written handoff process using the I-PASS mnemonic.  (PC 1,2,3,4) 


  1. Spector N, et al.  MedEdPORTAL: I-PASS Handoff Curriculum: Handoff Simulation Exercises. 


The simulations provided through this resource allow learners to practice skills learned in the I-PASS Handoff Curriculum and allows faculty to practice the use of tools that can be used for observation of live resident handoffs.   (PC 1,2,3,4) 


  1. Shaughnessy E. MedEdPORTAL: Pediatric Resident Sign-out Education. 


This group of materials on handoffs provides the educator with a standard format, SAFETIPS, for handoffs in the inpatient setting.  It includes a module to teach handoff background and the SAFETIPS method, practice cases, videos, and evaluation materials in the form of an Observed Standardized Clinical Encounter (OSCE).  (PC 1,2,3,4) 


  1. I-PASS Study Group/Boston Childrens Hospital supported by Grant Number R10AE000029 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 


This website provides information about the I-PASS study and provides access to various parts of the I-PASS Curriculum including the core resident workshop, simulation exercises, computer modules, the campaign toolkit, faculty development and handoff observation tools. (PC 1,2,3,4) 


  1. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 


This is one of the AHRQs patient safety primers and is specific to handoffs and sign out.  It contains general information about the importance of handoffs and contains links to studies, websites, toolkits, web resources, etc that focus on handoff practices. (PC 1,2,3,4) 


  1. American Medical Association. 


This site contains resources for improving handoffs including a description of a variety of mnemonics, links to educational videos, links to handoffs in the news and resources on specialty specific handoffs. (PC 1,2,3,4) 




  1. Riesenberg LA, et al. Systematic Review of Handoff Mnemonics Literature. Am J Med Qual. 2009 May-Jun;24(3):196-204. doi: 10.1177/1062860609332512. Epub 2009 Mar 5. 


This is a review of the mnemonics published in the literature from the 1980s to 2008. Mnemonics may be helpful in the handoff process and this review includes 46 articles that link to 24 such mnemonics.  However, it is important to note that only 4 of the articles were an actual study of the mnemonic.  As a result, though many examples are provided, there is little evidence demonstrating value of any one mnemonic in handoffs. (PC 1,2,3,4) 


  1. Riesenberg LA, et al. Residents and Attending Physicians Handoffs: A systematic review of the literature. Acad Med. 2009 Dec;84(12):1775-87. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181bf51a6. 


This is a review of the handoff literature from the 1980s to 2008 focused on physician (residents and attendings) handoffs.  The authors analyzed the content of the 46 included articles arriving at barriers to handoffs and strategies to improve handoffs.  They also included a list of useful research questions in the domains of knowledge, skills, attitudes, process outcomes and clinical outcomes that might also be useful in education settings.  Of note, as assessed by the authors, the overall quality of the studies was low with only one article obtaining a score of 13 out of the possible 16 points. (PC 1,2,3,4) 


  1. Gordon M, Findley R. Educational interventions to improve handoffs in health care: a systematic review. Med Educ. 2011 Nov;45(11):1081-9. doi