Answer to "Why is ‘specific education’ needed?"


The Joint Commission and the World Health Organization raised awareness for the need of formal handover training and standardization to improve consistency and reduce vulnerability to errors.  The Association of American Medical Colleges (ACGME) also emphasized the importance of handover education and assessment by including handovers as a core entrustable professional activity (EPA) prior to entering post-graduate training. In the UK, numerous specialty specific training programmes include required work based assessments on handover, with no specific teaching guidance.


Handover improvement often focusses on systems and processes, such as mnemonics, templates and web-based resources, but not neccesarily education on how to employ them or how to complete effective handover. Research has shown that, when done well, handover education can be effective, improving trainee confidence, knowledge and skills surrounding the handover process, and even improving health outcomes.

Further reading

Englander, R., Flynn, T., Call, S., Carraccio, C., et al. (2014) Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency - Curriculum Developers Guide. Washington DC. Available at: (Accessed: 28 February 2019).

Gordon, M. and Findley, R. (2011) ‘Educational interventions to improve handover in health care: a systematic review’, Medical Education, 45(11), pp. 1081–1089.

Gordon, M., Hill, E., Stojan, J. N. and Daniel, M. (2018) ‘Educational Interventions to Improve Handover in Health Care: An Updated Systematic Review’, Academic Medicine, 93(8), pp. 1234–1244.

WHO (2007) ‘Communication During Patient Hand-Overs’. World Health Organisation. Available at: (Accessed: 3 March 2019).