Handover--Enabling Learning in Communication for Safety (HELiCS): a report on achievements at two hospital sites

Med J Aust. 2009 Jun 1;190(S11):S133-6. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02620.x.


Clinical handover is an area of critical concern, because deficiencies in handover pose a patient safety risk. Redesign of handover must allow for input from frontline staff to ensure that designs fit into existing practices and settings. The HELiCS (Handover--Enabling Learning in Communication for Safety) tool uses a "video-reflexive" technique: handover encounters are videotaped and played back to the practitioners involved for analysis and discussion. Using the video-reflexive process, staff of an emergency department and an intensive care unit at two different tertiary hospitals redesigned their handover processes. The HELiCS study gave staff greater insight into previously unrecognised clinical and operational problems, enhanced coordination and efficiency of care, and strengthened junior-senior communication and teaching. Our study showed that reflexive and "bottom-up" handover redesign can produce outcomes that harbour local fit, practitioner ownership and (to date) sustainability.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Communication*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Feedback
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Safety
  • Video Recording*