Objective: Handoff is an intra-disciplinary process, yet the flow of critical handoff information spans multiple disciplines. Understanding this information flow is important for the development of computer-based tools that supports the communication and coordination of patient care in a multi-disciplinary and highly specialized critical care setting. We aimed to understand the structure, functionality, and content of nurses' and physicians' handoff artifacts. Design: We analyzed 22 nurses' and physicians' handoff artifacts from a Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU) at a large urban medical center. We combined artifact analysis with semantic coding based on our published Interdisciplinary Handoff Information Coding (IHIC) framework for a novel two-step data analysis approach. Results: We found a high degree of structure and overlap in the content of nursing and physician artifacts. Our findings demonstrated a non-technical, yet sophisticated, system with a high degree of structure for the organization and communication of patient data that functions to coordinate the work of multiple disciplines in a highly specialized unit of patient care. Limitations: This study took place in one CTICU. Further work is needed to determine the generalizability of the results. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that the development of semi-structured patient-centered interdisciplinary handoff tools with discipline specific views customized for specialty settings may effectively support handoff communication and patient safety.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Computer Science Applications