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A big risk in the healthcare handoff

Care transitions — those times when someone enters a hospital, transfers from one department to another, gets discharged to a rehabilitation center or goes home — are risky times. Health care professionals have long known that these handoffs provide prime opportunities for mistakes, most often because of communication lapses. One unnervingly common error for hospitalized patients was documented by a very large Canadian study of older adults recently published in The Journal of the American Medical Association: essential medications inadvertently get stopped.
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