Improving the Continuity of Patient Care through Identification and Implementation of Novel Patient Handover Processes in Europe
Continuity of clinical care, with multiple provider involvement, is a critical aspect of patient care and often this continuity is poor and incomplete. Incomplete handover to a secondary/tertiary care unit or discharge from the hospital can lead to adverse patient events as well as pain and suffering. These events may ultimately lead to life-threatening situations during treatment/surgery or avoidable treatment or re-admission after the patient’s discharge. Proper care transitions are especially important for vulnerable groups as they are for high-risk patients with multiple comorbidities.
The overall objective of HANDOVER was to optimise the continuum of clinical care at the primary care hospital interface. The goal was to reduce unnecessary and avoidable treatment, medical errors, and loss of life.
The project worked on this objective by identifying and studying best practices and creating standardised approaches to handover communication at the primary care hospital interface and by measuring the effectiveness of these practices in terms of costs and impact on patients. Recommendations and guidelines at EU level for safe and effective communication in the transmission of patients were developed as well as tools for the practical implementation of specific methods.
The HANDOVER project was coordinated by the University Medical Centre, Utrecht (UMCU) and co-funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme; it launched in 2008. HANDOVER concluded in 2011.