Utility of a Standardized Sign-out Card for New Medical Interns


Consciencious sign-out between medical interns is important for the continuity of care of hospitalized patients.  We developed a standardized sign-out card that prompted the intern going off duty to transmit patient care information to the intern on call.  The card was tested in a prospective, randomized, controlled trial in which one group on interns used the card, and another group did not.  Any instance of poor sign-out was reported on a questionnaire completed by the intern who had been on call the previous night.  The group using the sign-out cards reported poor sign-out on 8 nights (5.8% of questionnaires), and the control group reported it on 17 nights (14.9% of questionnaires, p = .016).  The card was time-effective and inexpensive, resulted in more complete data recording, and possibly decreased the mornidity associated with poor sign-out.

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Lawrence H. Lee, MD, James A. Levin, MD, Henry J. Schultz, MD