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This workshop is an educational intervention designed to improve student skills in patient handoffs. It consists of a one-hour, interactive, small-group session facilitated by a faculty member. The workshop focuses on the importance of specific handoff skills to patient safety and is centered around the principles embodied in the ACCEPT mnemonic: Accurate, Complete (but concise), Clear, Efficient, Presented in writing, and Told in person. Students are provided with a standardized format for both an oral and written handoff along with a pocket card highlighting the required elements. A standardized patient case allows for participants to practice these skills, receive feedback, and undergo formal evaluation.

The primary goal of the workshop is to provide a brief but effective handoff-skills training session that can be targeted to participants as early as the third year of medical school. The purpose of this resource is to provide a framework for those considering incorporating handoff teaching in the undergraduate medical curriculum.

At George Washington University, we conducted a quasi-randomized study of third-year internal medicine clerks receiving a standardized handoff skills training. Students were followed into their fourth year to assess the durability of the training and the transfer of skills from the simulated setting into the clinical environment. At the core of the training was a one-hour workshop developed by a group of medical educators and hospitalists aimed at teaching third-year medical students a standardized approach to handoffs in the inpatient setting. The workshop was designed to be time efficient, limit faculty resource utilization, and have a lasting impact.

Using a handoff evaluation tool, we found that students who participated in the workshop demonstrated an improvement in their oral handoff skills. After an average follow-up of nine months, trained students performed statistically significantly better than untrained controls. Lastly, trained students transferred the skills they were taught to the clinical setting and performed statistically significantly better than untrained controls when assessed doing real-time handoffs during their acting-internship.

A retrospective pre-post self-assessment found that 72% of students felt at least somewhat unprepared to perform an effective handoff prior to participating in the educational workshop, while 75% of students felt well prepared or very well prepared after the educational intervention. Eighty-six percent of the students felt the educational intervention to be effective. No student reported that the workshop was ineffective.

AAMC MedEdPORTAL publication ID 10302. Link to original.

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Creative Commons License
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