Background: 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. Methods: 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 χ2 tests (α =.05). Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.
- Continuity of patient care
- Transition in care