A theoretical framework and competency-based approach to improving handoffs

V. M. Arora*, J. K. Johnson, D. O. Meltzer, H. J. Humphrey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Background: Once characterised by remarkable continuity of care by a familiar doctor, patient care today is delivered by multiple physicians with varying degrees of knowledge of the patient. Yet, few trainees learn the potential risks of these transitions and the strategies to improve patient care during handoffs. Little is known regarding the mechanisms by which handoffs affect patient care. Results: Building on theoretical constructs from the social sciences and illustrated with a case study of the implementation of a night float service for the inpatient general medicine services at the University of Chicago, a conceptual framework is proposed to describe how handoffs affect both patients and physicians. Conclusion: Using this conceptual framework, recommendations are made for formal education based on the core competencies of communication and professionalism. Opportunities to educate trainees in acquiring these skills are described in the context of handoffs of patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
JournalQuality and Safety in Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'A theoretical framework and competency-based approach to improving handoffs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this