James Emery: Applying Human-Centered Design to the Patient Handoff Process from Operating Room to ICU

Patient handover/handoff is the process following surgery in which patients are transported from the operating room (OR) to the intensive care unit (ICU). This process has historically been disorganized and inefficient, with activities that are completed in inconsistent sequences by distracted providers.

Alongside his colleagues, HSM Professor James Emery conducted a study to test the application of a human-centered approach to patient handoffs from the OR to the ICU.

Dr. Emery and co-authors utilized observations, surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gain a better understanding of current patient handoff practices. They used this information to amend the patient handoff process to address concerns identified in the literature along with the workflow and information needs of the providers involved in this care process.

It was concluded that the redesign of the patient handoff process improved teamwork and reduced provider workload while increasing their satisfaction with the handover process. However, it is conceded that these specific amendments may not lead to the same results in other settings. The human-centered design approach applied by the researchers must be applied to each individual setting in order to experience meaningful process improvements.

Read more in “Operating Room-to-ICU Patient Handovers: A Multidisciplinary Human-Centered Design Approach.” The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety

Segall, N., Bonifacio, A., Barbeito, A., Schroeder, R., Perfect, S., Wright, M., Emery, J., Atkins, B., Taekman, J., & Mark, J. (2016). Operating Room–to-ICU Patient Handovers: A Multidisciplinary Human-Centered Design Approach. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 42 (9), 400-409. DOI:10.1016/S1553-7250(16)42081-7