Original Publication
Open Access

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

Published: February 17, 2011 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8331

Included in this publication:

  • Instructor's Guide.doc
  • Instructions for Facilitators.doc
  • Handoffs - A Typical Day on the Wards.VOB
  • Blank Participant Checklist for Skit.doc
  • Checklist for Skit Filled Out.doc
  • Learners Assessment.doc
  • Workshop Evaluation for Participants.doc

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file. This publication includes large downloadable files. If you experience difficulty downloading these files, please contact mededportal@aamc.org to receive a free DVD version via mail.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Numerous studies have shown the vulnerability of care transitions in hospital care. 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 to effective care transitions. This workshop can be offered either within a cultural competency curriculum or a quality and safety curriculum.

This case exposes trainees to the many sources that contribute to communication failure. In this 20-minute workshop, learners work to define the contributors to and consequences of communication failure by watching a 4-minute video depicting a handoff, before entering a 10- to 12-minute debriefing. The overall objective of this session 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 provides 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.


Educational Objectives

By the end of this module, learners will be able to:

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

Author Information

  • Vineet Arora, MD, MA: University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Jeanne M. Farnan, MD, MHPE: University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • John A.M. Paro, MD: Stanford University
  • Arpana Vidyarthi, MD: University of California San Francisco
  • Julie K. Johnson, MSPH PhD: University of New South Wales

None to report. 

This research was supported by: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Centers for Education Research on Therapeutics  [R03HS018278 (PI Arora) and 1U18HS016967-01 (PI Meltzer)]; American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation; University of Chicago Department of Medicine.

Prior Presentations
None to report.


Arora V, Farnan J, Paro J, Vidyarthi A, Johnson J. Teaching Video: "Handoffs: A Typical Day on the Wards." MedEdPORTAL. 2011;7:8331. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8331