Avoidance of Mortality and Morbidity in Inter-Hospital Transfers

Document Type : Original Article


Medical Education Royal Liverpool University Hospitals Liverpool, UK.


Introduction: The present study aimed to evaluate the quality of the inter-hospital transfers (IHTs) of the patients in a tertiary referral hospital in the United Kingdom.
Materials and Methods: This collaborative, multi-professional study was conducted in three stages. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from a tertiary referral hospital in the United Kingdom using the case notes of the patients and surveys of junior physicians during training. The primary outcome was to examine the quality of the handover of patients during IHT.
Results:In total, 95.5% of the responding foundation year 1 doctors believed the current system of patient transfer to be unsafe. In terms of medical information handover, 62.5% of the physicians could not recall receiving a verbal handover, while 25% mentioned not receiving a written handover. In addition, 81.5% had difficulty clarifying the medications of the transferred patients, and 66%, 22%, and 26% of the physicians received the most recent results on blood tests, blood gas tests, and cultures, respectively. Also, 93% were not informed on the expected performance of the transfer team.
Conclusion: According to the results, IHT required improvement in the studied hospital, and similar findings are likely to be obtained by repeating the investigation in other health centers. Furthermore, a trainee-led collaborative research was initiated in order to develop an online transfer system to reduce the risk of poor medical information handover in the patients transferred between hospitals, which is potentially a major patient safety issue and could be mitigated through proper healthcare technology platforms.