Handoff notes are increasingly integrated within electronic health record (EHR) systems and often contain data automatically generated from the EHR and free-text narratives. We examined the quality of data entered by providers in the free-text portion of our institutional EHR handoff tool. Overall, 65% of handoff notes contained at least one error (average 1.7 errors per note). Most errors were omissions in information around patient plan/management or assessment/diagnosis rather than entry of false data. Factors associated with increased error rate were increasing hospital day number; weekend note; medical (vs. surgical) service team; and authorship by a medical student, first or fourth year resident physician, or attending physician. Our findings suggest that errors are common in handoff notes, and while these errors are not completely false data, they may provide individuals caring for patients an inaccurate understanding of patient status.
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