Metropolitan Boston Emergency Medical Service Council

25 B Street, Suite A Burlington, Massachusetts 01803

781-505-4367 (voice) | 781-272-6967 (fax)

Patient Hand-Off Tool


The Public Information and Education Resource Committee (PIER) for the Metropolitan Boston Emergency Medical Services Council (MBEMSC) would like to introduce a guide for patient hand off.

Between 1995 and 2004, communication problems were the primary cause of 65 percent of sentinel events, according to the Joint Commission. In 2005, a Joint Commission analysis found that 70 percent of sentinel events were caused by communication breakdowns, half of those occurred during handoffs.

We have created a tool kit (guide) to assist in providing the needed information for safe patient hand off in the transition of care of our patients.

Please review the enclosed sample and communication template.

This is a new model of information sharing and will take some time on all our parts to get familiar with and comfortable with information sharing.

Our goal is to provide safe patient transitions.

What is a Patient Handoff?

Patient Handoffs occur anytime there is a transfer of responsibility for a patient from one caregiver to another. The goal of the handoff is to provide timely, accurate information about a patient’s care plan, treatment, current condition and any recent or anticipated changes.

Thank you for reviewing this new initiative, please feel free to contact Derrick Congdon @


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