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Improving the 'handoff' in children's hospitals cuts down on errors

The Plain Dealer, July 29, 2014

Most parents intuitively know what a handoff is — the last time you had a babysitter come take care of your kids, or you dropped a child off at daycare, you probably performed a pretty sophisticated one yourself. You checked backpacks, lunchboxes, passed along instructions about sleep habits and illnesses, and left emergency numbers. Handoffs happen thousands of times a day at children's hospitals, when sick kids are admitted to the hospital, when they are transferred between nurses or doctors changing shifts, and when they are sent to receive diagnostic tests. Fumbling these handoffs — through miscommunication or misunderstanding — can cause serious harm.