2 - International Conference in Emergency Medicine and Public Health-Qatar Proceedings
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094


The handover process is meant to ensure patient safety and maintain continuity of care through endorsement of critical patient information. This study evaluates staff's perceptions about the current patient handover process effectiveness between Ambulance Service (AS) and Emergency Department (ED) clinicians. It may help identify barriers and contributing factors to an effective patient handover.

An electronic questionnaire was circulated to all ED doctors/nurses and AS staff (Estimated N = 1,000). 400 questionnaires were completed of which 92 did not meet the inclusion criteria. Respondents were 43% AS staff, 29% ED nurses, and 28% ED doctors. A 4-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree-4 = strongly agree) was used. The mean was calculated for every variable to determine each group perception. One-way ANOVA tested the relationship between demographics and perceptions’ variables.

Although 62% of respondents believe the current handover process is safe and 65% believe AS staff report all critical information, 70% of respondents think that it causes AS/ED staff conflicts, and 72% believe the current handover process needs changing. ANOVA test revealed significant differences in the mean between study groups’ handover safety perceptions. Interestingly, ED nurses expressed more safety concern (2.43) than ED doctors (2.58) and AS staff (2.82) with p-value < 0.05. The main perceived barriers to effective handover were: Lack of handover protocol (89%); Lack of a standardized handover tool (89%); Fragmented communication (85%); and Frequent interruptions (82%). 93% of the respondents believe the use of a standardized handover tool will improve the patient handover process despite 67% of them not knowing any standardized handover tool.

The lack of handover protocol and a standardized tool leads to significant variation and is a patient safety concern due to potential loss of critical information. We believe that a mutually agreed standardized handover tool such as ISBAR would reduce handover variation and ensure quality.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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