Practice Innovations

Nursing Shift Handoff Process: Using an Electronic Health Record Tool to Improve Quality

Shannon Panda

electronic health record, patient handoff, nursing education, staff, hospital
CJON 2020, 24(5), 583-585. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.583-585

Nursing shift handoffs can be frustrating for nursing staff when information received about a patient is inaccurate or inadequate. The safety of the patient may be compromised, and missed opportunities for care interventions may occur. The electronic health record (EHR) provides healthcare professionals with useful information that can highlight the most important items the nurse needs to prioritize patient care. A unit leadership team at a large academic hospital developed a peer-to-peer training plan to provide evidence-based nursing education using the nursing handoff feature in the EHR.


  • Inconsistent nurse-to-nurse handoff can create confusion and compromise patient safety. 
  • A new handoff tool in the EHR was introduced using a multiphase approach with an emphasis on peer-to-peer education. 
  • Implementing an electronic nursing handoff tool in the EHR improved nurses’ perception of shift handoff quality.
Members Only
Not a current ONS member or journal subscriber?

Purchase This Article

Receive a PDF to download and print.