• Moving from Paper to Computer: A Shift Handoff Format

      Christensen, Patricia (2014)
      Shift handoff is an integral component of the communication process used to transfer information about patients among providers as the information conveyed during this exchange is essential to the nursing decisions, activities and interventions that take place in the care of the patient (Alvarado, et. al., 2006). When critical information is not transmitted between providers, the patient may be placed at risk for errors or omissions in care (Sand-Jecklin & Sherman, 2012). Research supports that the use of a standardized shift handoff format can enhance the shift handoff communication (Adamski, 2007) by ensuring that critical patient information is reliably transferred. Anthony and Preuss (2002) assert that the use of computerized formats in the shift handoff process can contribute to safer patient care and should be utilized to their fullest capacity. There is agreement in the literature that a standardized shift handoff format enhances patient safety, and that a computerized format best facilitates a shift handoff that has current, complete and consistent patient information (Randell et al., 2011). The purpose of this quality improvement project was to answer the question: Does an educational intervention, focused on best practices for use of a computerized shift handoff format, improve its rating of usability among nurses on a medical/surgical unit? A one group, pre- and post-test, non-experimental design was used to compare the ratings of usability before and after an education program regarding best practices for using the computerized format. An adapted System Usability Scale (Brooke, 1986), with five additional questions related to the nurse’s opinions about technology, was used for both the pre- test and the post-test. A paired-sample t-test was conducted to evaluate the impact of the education intervention on the nurses’ scores on the adapted SUS. While there was not a statistically significant difference in SUS scores between the pre-test (M = 67.67, SD = 17.42) and the post-test (M = 69.50, SD = 17.75), t (29) = -.93, p > .05 (two tailed) MOVING FROM PAPER TO COMPUTER 3 following an educational intervention, opinions did emerge related to the issue of work flow and the use of a computerized shift handoff format. Future quality improvement projects may be generated on the basis of these findings.