Implementation of I-PASS Nursing Handoff Bundle reduces communication errors

The I-PASS Nursing Handoff Bundle intervention could reduce rates of handoff error while maintaining a steady workflow, according to a study published in BMJ Quality & Safety.

Medical errors occurring from nursing handoffs have the potential to be dangerous to patients. In response, researchers evaluated the impact of the I-PASS Nursing Handoff Bundle intervention in improving practices. The bundle includes educational training, verbal handoff I-PASS mnemonic implementation and visual materials to reinforce and train providers on how to improve practices without disrupting workflow.

The study, which included data from a pediatric intensive care unit from 2011 to 2012, tested the intervention in verbal handoffs and other workflow activities.

Results showed the the bundle correlated with a 30 percent improvement in verbal handoff communications. Additionally, the intervention improved patients' summaries by 14 percent. It also provided more opportunity for patients to ask questions by 39 percent. Overall, 62 percent of verbal handoff data elements were more likely to be present.

“Implementation of the I-PASS Nursing Handoff Bundle was associated with widespread improvements in the verbal handoff process without a negative impact on nursing workflow,” concluded first author Amy Starmer, with the division of general pediatrics with Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues. “Implementation of I-PASS for nurses may therefore have the potential to significantly reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.”