Dynamic and complex clinical environments present many challenges for effective communication among health care providers. The omission of accurate, timely, easily accessible vital information by health care providers significantly increases risk of patient harm and can have devastating consequences for patient care. An effective nursing handoff supports the standardized transfer of accurate, timely, critical patient information, as well as continuity of care and treatment, resulting in enhanced patient safety. The Brigham and Women’s/Faulkner Hospital Healthcare Information Technology Innovation Program (HIP) is supporting the development of a web based nursing handoff tool (NHT). The goal of this project is to develop a “proof of concept” handoff application to be evaluated by nurses on the inpatient intermediate care units. The handoff tool would enable nurses to use existing knowledge of evidence-based handoff methodology in their everyday practice to improve patient care and safety. In this paper, we discuss the results of nursing focus groups designed to identify the current state of handoff practice as well as the functional and data element requirements of a web based Nursing Handoff Tool (NHT)
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