iSoBAR--a concept and handover checklist: the National Clinical Handover Initiative

Med J Aust. 2009 Jun 1;190(S11):S152-6. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02625.x.


Effective communication at clinical handover is important for improving patient safety and reducing adverse outcomes. In consultation with doctors, nurses and allied health staff in the Western Australian Country Health Service, we developed a clinical handover checklist, adapted from an existing tool for standardising communication. The acronym "iSoBAR" (identify-situation-observations-background-agreed plan-read back) summarises the components of the checklist. We designed a comprehensive iSoBAR handover form to reduce the number of existing clinical handover forms. The new form, with an accompanying toolkit, was initially trialled in the Kimberley region, but is now being adopted more widely. Early adoption of the new form has been attributed to extensive clinician involvement and leadership. There is a need for further research to assess whether the use of handover checklists improves patient outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Abbreviations as Topic
  • Australia
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Forms and Records Control
  • Humans
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration