Development Background at a Glance
In 2009, ten of the Center’s collaborating hospitals and health systems began a project focused on hand-off communications. These leading health care organizations, together with the Joint Commission Center for Transforming, examined their hand-off communications problems, identified their specific causes for failures and barriers to improvement, and then identified, implemented and validated solutions that improved their performance.
In order to share this learning and make it widely available to all health care organizations, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare developed the Targeted Solutions Tool® (TST®) for Hand-off Communications. Health care organizations that field tested the tool experienced the same success as that of the original 10 leading hospitals and health systems.
By using solutions targeted to the specific causes of an inadequate hand-off, participating and pilot organizations that had fully implemented solutions achieved an average of over 50 percent reduction in defective hand-offs. Using the tool and the solutions from the Center’s Hand-off Communications project, health care organizations reported an increase in patient and family satisfaction; staff satisfaction; and successful transfers of patients (reduced bounce backs).
“Our work on the Hand-off Communications project has helped us improve safety by improving communications between emergency room physicians and admitting primary care physicians. With the help of the Joint Commission Center for Healthcare, we have identified and corrected communications barriers and hope to extend the lessons to other care providers throughout our hospitals.”
Mignon Benjamin, MD
Bartlett Regional Hospital, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Care Consortium staff.