Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

From theory to practice of electronic handover

Sara L. Barnes A B , Donald A. Campbell A , Keith A. Stockman A and Dirk Wunderlink A

A Southern Health, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton Road, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia. Email:;;

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Health Review 35(3) 384-391
Submitted: 27 May 2010  Accepted: 28 October 2010   Published: 25 August 2011


Clinical handover is an essential process occurring at many levels of inpatient care. Multiple studies within a hospital setting have identified that a breakdown in the handover process can lead to poor patient outcomes and serious adverse events. The use of electronic handover tools is an intervention identified to decrease errors in clinical care arising from poor handover practice. An electronic handover tool was implemented in a general medical unit in a metropolitan tertiary hospital setting. The program was written by a Medical Professional who also used the tool. The program was evaluated with a pre- and post-intervention survey within the medical, allied health and nursing staff members of the multidisciplinary teams. The use of the Electronic Handover program resulted in improved satisfaction of the handover process within the medical, nursing and allied health professions. This trial demonstrates that an electronic handover program can be successfully integrated into normal medical work practice, resulting in positive outcomes for a multidisciplinary staff team. Further work is required to determine whether patient outcomes are improved as a result.


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