Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013
Education can improve intern handoffs, study finds
Patient handoffs have long been recognized as an area needing improvement, with the Joint Commission even adding patient care transitions to its national Patient Safety Goals in 2006.
While the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires residency programs to document competency in handoff communication, few evidence-based curricula teach handover skills for residents. Erin E. Shaughnessy and colleagues are helping to remedy this absence of literature with a new study assessing the impact of a brief educational intervention on handoff skills among pediatrics interns.
The study, published in the Journal of Graduate Medical Education, involved a one-hour educational workshop on the components of high-quality handoffs and implementation of a standardized handoff format for pediatrics interns. The interns' handoffs were evaluated using a simulated encounter two weeks before, two weeks after and seven months after the workshop.
Following the workshop, intern reporting of patient acuity increased from 13 percent to 92 percent, an improvement that was sustained at the seven-month evaluation. While intern reporting of essential information improved, key communication behaviors remained unchanged.
The AMA has created a resource page available to all residents and fellows to help them improve their patient handoffs.
Resident reallocation didn't ease primary care shortage
A new study published in the latest issue of Health Affairs found that the shortage of primary care and rural physicians was not alleviated by reallocating unused residency slots under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.
During the reshuffling, about 3,000 resident slots were shifted, but only 12 of the 304 hospitals receiving new positions were in rural areas. Simultaneously, the small increase in primary care residency positions was slight compared to the larger growth in slots for specialties other than primary care.
The study did not identify the reason for the redistribution's failure, but the authors caution that small changes made within the established graduate medical education system cannot address the nation's health care workforce needs.
Cast your vote in the 2nd Take a Trip with Timmy Global Health Contest
Help your colleagues work to ensure that patients in Guatemala, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic have access to quality health care by voting in the Take a Trip with Timmy Global Health contest. Through the contest, two residents, medical students, allied health students or pre-med students will spend two to three weeks with medical professionals working to expand health care access in those countries.
During the past few months, residents and students from all around the United States submitted essays about how their career goals as a medical professional align with the mission to expand access to health care for the underserved. Ten finalists remain, and you can help select the two winners by voting on the video essays they created. Review the video essays and vote today; voting ends Jan. 28.
The trip prize is offered by Timmy Global Health, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization that works to expand access to health care in low-income communities in the developing world. Take a Trip with Timmy is supported by the MedPlus Advantage insurance program, offered through AMA Insurance Agency.