Original Research

Development of a handoff evaluation tool for shift‐to‐shift physician handoffs: The handoff CEX

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Increasing frequency of shift‐to‐shift handoffs coupled with regulatory requirements to evaluate handoff quality make a handoff evaluation tool necessary.

OBJECTIVE

To develop a handoff evaluation tool.

DESIGN

Tool development.

SETTING

Two academic medical centers.

SUBJECTS

Nurse practitioners, medicine housestaff, and hospitalist attendings.

INTERVENTION

Concurrent peer and external evaluations of shift‐to‐shift handoffs.

MEASUREMENTS

The Handoff CEX (clinical evaluation exercise) consists of 6 subdomains and 1 overall assessment, each scored from 1 to 9, where 1 to 3 is unsatisfactory and 7 to 9 is superior. We assessed range of scores, performance among subgroups, internal consistency, and agreement among types of raters.

RESULTS

We conducted 675 evaluations of 97 unique individuals during 149 handoff sessions. Scores ranged from unsatisfactory to superior in each domain. The highest rated domain for handoff providers was professionalism (median: 8; interquartile range [IQR]: 7–9); the lowest was content (median: 7; IQR: 6–8). Scores at the 2 institutions were similar, and scores did not differ significantly by training level. Spearman correlation coefficients among the CEX subdomains for provider scores ranged from 0.71 to 0.86, except for setting (0.39–0.40). Third‐party external evaluators consistently gave lower marks for the same handoff than peer evaluators did. Weighted kappa scores for provider evaluations comparing external evaluators to peers ranged from 0.28 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.01, 0.56) for setting to 0.59 (95% CI: 0.38, 0.80) for organization.

CONCLUSIONS

This handoff evaluation tool was easily used by trainees and attendings, had high internal consistency, and performed similarly across institutions. Because peers consistently provided higher scores than external evaluators, this tool may be most appropriate for external evaluation. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:191–200. © 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine