Why Hand-Off Communication is Important

Many people are unaware that a doctor could be tasked with seeing upwards of sixty patients per day. Each patient is entitled to a standard of care catered to their own special and distinct needs. We are then looking at a situation in which a doctor has information on dozens of vitals, symptoms, potential treatments, and other methods of care. This crucial information is essential to the medical treatment of a patient. Unfortunately, this information is often miscommunicated during transitions of care.

What exactly is a ‘transition of care’? A transition of care is defined as when a patient moves between healthcare professionals. An example of this is when you change from a primary care physician to a specialist. A transition of care can also be when a doctor, nurse, or any other healthcare professional changes during a shift change on the job.

Mistakes in hand-off communication are the leading cause of medical errors in hospitals. In fact, between 200,000 and 400,000 people die each year from medical errors, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Furthermore, it can create trillions of dollars in health care costs. This is why hand-off communication is so important. Incomplete, incorrect or missing information can be harmful and even lethal to a patient’s health. According to Medscape, this is especially true for the elderly and those in long-term care conditions. With these patients often visiting multiple care facilities and taking a long list of medications, it is an indisputable fact that healthcare professionals are more likely to make a mistake.

If there is a practical solution, researchers may be on the brink. In a recent study conducted at UC San Francisco, researchers found that when healthcare providers incorporated more efficient communication practices, there was a 30 percent decrease in injuries suffered because of medical error.

To help reduce error, consult with all of your healthcare providers to ensure they have proper documentation of your records and are knowledgeable about your medical history.


    I was having a hard time finding someone to represent me. I was frustrated. But after SS&L took my case, I was treated VERY well! Ericka Campbell is a rockstar! She was phenomenal at communicating with me. Spangenberg Shibley & Liber are the utmost

    - William R.

    SS&L treated me well and I felt supported.

    - Brian R.

    Our Family will be Forever Grateful!

    - Tim S.

    Attorney Tor and the whole team at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, including the receptionist, made me feel welcome, comforted, and confident throughout my case. They showed me respect and kindness from start to finish.

    - Zandra S.

    I was feeling uncertain but after I met with Nick I felt at ease & confident. Communication was great, I was constantly informed and everyone was genuine & compassionate.

    - Sonja S.

Put Award-Winning
Trial Lawyers On Your Side

Contact Our Team for a Free & Confidential Case Evaluation
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.