A Collaborative Partnership between the Multicenter Handoff Collaborative and an Electronic Health Record Vendor

Bommy Hong Mershon, Andrea Vannucci, Trent Bryson, Felix Lin, Philip E. Greilich, Guy Dear, Patrick Guffey, Aalok Agarwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives The operating room is a specialized, complex environment with many factors that can impede effective communication during transitions of care between anesthesia clinicians. We postulated that an efficient, accessible, standardized tool for intraoperative handoffs built into standard workflow would improve communication and handoff safety. Most institutions now use an electronic health record (EHR) system for patient care and have independently designed intraoperative handoff tools, but these home-grown tools are not scalable to other organizations and lack vendor-supported features. The goal of this project was to create a standardized, intraoperative handoff tool supported by EHR functionality. Methods The Multicenter Handoff Collaborative, with support from the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, created a working group of frontline anesthesia experts to collaborate with a development team from the EHR vendor (Epic Systems) to design a standardized intraoperative handoff tool. Over 2 years, the working group identified the critical elements for the tool and software usability, and the EHR team designed a standardized intraoperative handoff tool that is accessible to any institution using this EHR. Results The first iteration of the intraoperative handoff tool was released in August 2019, with a second version in February 2020. The tool is standardized but customizable by individual institutions. Conclusion We demonstrate that work on complex health care processes critical to patient safety, such as handoffs, can be performed on a national scale through cross-industry collaboration. Frontline experts can partner with health care industry vendors to design, build, and release a product on an accelerated timeline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-654
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Clinical Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • collaboration
  • ergonomics
  • handoffs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


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