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University Medical Centre, Utrecht – Improving Continuity of Care

August 5, 2014

A graduate of Hebrew University, Paul Barach, MD, MPH, is a board-certified anesthesiologist and intensive care expert, and guest professor at the University of Oslo in Norway. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Paul Barach led the “Handover” Project, which is focused on improving continuity of care for patients and reducing hospital readmissions.

The project, officially entitled “Improving the Continuity of Patient Care Through Identification and Implementation of Novel Patient Handover Processes in Europe,” was coordinated by the University Medical Centre, Utrecht (UMCU), and funded by the European Commission. The project was based on the notion that gaps exist in patient care when a “handover” occurs between physicians.

For instance, when a patient is discharged from the hospital or is referred to another physician, the receiving physician may not receive a complete picture of the patient’s current state of health, which can lead to mistakes. The goal of the Handover Project is to reduce medical errors and unnecessary treatments that can lead to injury or even loss of life. The organization aims to achieve these goals by evaluating best practices across a variety of settings and standardizing these practices so that communication is improved among physicians and hospitals. See http://www.handover.eu for more information, reports, scientific papers and tools.

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