A systematic review of published English-language articles on handoffs is conducted (1987 to June 4, 2008). Forty-six articles describing 24 handoff mnemonics are identified by trained reviewers. The majority (82.6%) have been published in the last 3 years (2006-2008), and SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) is the most frequently cited mnemonic (69.6%). Of 7 handoff research articles, only 4 study mnemonics. All 4 of these studies have relatively small sample sizes (10-100) and lack validated instruments. Only 1 study has obtained IRB approval. Scientifically rigorous research studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of handoff mnemonics. These should be published in the peer-reviewed literature using the Standards for QUality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE) guidelines.