Teaching Video: "Handoffs: A Typical Day on the Wards"

Publication ID Published Volume
8331 February 17, 2011 7


This teaching video represents a worst-case communication failure scenario based on a string of common, yet avoidable pitfalls in patient handoffs as documented in our body of research. This resource has been utilized to instruct undergraduate and graduate medical education trainees on the barriers and facilitators to effective care transitions. This workshop can be offered either within a cultural competency curriculum or quality and safety curriculum.

This case exposes trainees to the many sources that contribute to communication failure. In this workshop, learners work to define the contributors to and consequences of communication failure. The overall objective of these sessions is to emphasize effective provider behaviors to prevent threats to patient safety during transitions of care. When used in conjunction with the accompanying checklists and educational resources, this session arms residency program directors with a viable and interactive option for fulfilling the 2010 ACGME mandates which require residency programs to ensure resident competency in handoff communication.

A method for raising awareness of barriers to effective handoff communication by focusing on the implications these barriers can have on patient safety.

Editor’s Note
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Arora V, Farnan J, Paro J, Vidyarthi A, Johnson J. Teaching video: "handoffs: a typical day on the wards". MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2011;7:8331. http://dx.doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8331

Educational Objectives

  1. To identify major cultural, communication and environmental barriers to effective care transitions.
  2. To recognize and manage obstacles to delivering quality care.
  3. To identify and describe how systems-based issues contribute to patient handoff errors.
  4. To identify the pertinent patient history that should be communicated between providers during the transition of care.


  • Handoffs

Prior Scholarly Dissemination


  1. Arora VM, Johnson J, Lovinger D, Humphrey H, Meltzer D. Communication Failures in Patient Signout and Suggestions for Improvement: A Critical Incident Analysis. Qual Saf Health Car. 2005;14:401-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2005.015107
  2. Arora VM, Johnson J. A Model for Building a Standardized Hand-Off Protocol. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2006;32(11):646-655.
  3. Vidyarthi A, Arora VM, Schnipper K, et al. Managing Discontinuity in Academic Medical Centers: Strategies for a Safe and Effective Resident Sign-Out. J Hosp Med. 2006; 1(4): 257-266. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jhm.103

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ISSN 2374-8265