UC San Francisco is part of a patient safety research group that received the prestigious 2016 John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. The award is presented annually by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, two leading organizations that set standards in patient care.

UCSF is part of the I-PASS Study Group, which represents more than 50 hospitals from across North America dedicated to improving patient safety by standardizing provider communication during patient handoffs to reduce miscommunication that can lead to harmful medical errors.

Handoffs in hospitals occur when the responsibility for care of patients changes between medical providers, including admission to the hospital, at shift changes, before and after procedures, upon unit changes, and at discharge. Despite the best of intentions by medical providers, medical errors are common and 80 percent of the most serious medical errors can be linked to communication failures, particularly during patient handoffs.

Developed Standardized Method for Handoffs

In 2012, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco joined the I-PASS Study Group, a group of education and patient safety experts from nine pediatric hospitals across North America. They worked together to develop the I-PASS Handoff Method and used it teach pediatrics residents a standardized method to handoff patients at change of shift.

“Putting the I-PASS curriculum into place was a collaboration between health service researchers, medical educators and clinicians,” said Glenn Rosenbluth, MD, the I-PASS site director at UCSF and director of Quality and Safety Programs for the UCSF School of Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education team.

With implementation of I-PASS at multiple centers nationwide, there was a 30 percent reduction in medical errors that harm patients, according to the group’s November 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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