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Rotation transfers at hospitals and patient safety

Among the many things that occur at hospitals are rotation-related transfers of patients. This is when a patient is transferred from one medical team to another at a hospital due to a shifting of clinical rotations. As with all aspects of patient care, it can be very important for hospitals to take appropriate steps to protect patient safety in relation to such transfers. A recent study suggests that patient safety concerns can come up in connection to such transfers.

The study indicates that such transfers might be associated with a higher likelihood of patients dying during their hospital stay or soon after. The study looked at data regarding around 231,000 hospital patients. The patients were from 10 different VA hospitals. The study looked at how common death was among these patients during their hospital stay and soon after their stay ended.

The study found that patients who had had a rotation transfer happen during their hospital stay had a higher likelihood for both in-hospital deaths and deaths soon after discharge than patients who had no such transfer occur over the course of their stay. As a note, the increase in likelihood was not as great when it came to rotation transfers that were solely done by residents (and thus not handled by interns).

The study did not indicate what caused the increase in likelihood, but an author of the study postulated that the increase could be connected to issues related to handing off patient information in such transfers.

So, one hopes that, when rotation transfers occur, the hospital and medical professionals involved take appropriate measures to ensure patient safety isn’t compromised during the transfer, including ensuring all relevant patient information makes it to the medical professionals who need it. When mistakes are made during rotation transfers or other activities touching on patient care at a hospital, skilled lawyers can help patients harmed by the mistakes understand their legal options.

Source: CBS News, “Patient safety may drop during doctor rotations,” Alan Mozes, Dec. 7, 2016

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