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Hospital Staff Say 'Crisis Mode' Obstructs Communication

Workers who perceive high stress at work think it interferes with exchange of patient information

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Staff members who perceive a work climate of crisis mode in their hospital units say that it leads to problems in exchanging patient information, according to research published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Mark E. Patterson, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and colleagues analyzed self-reported data from 247,140 hospital staff members across 884 hospitals. The authors sought to assess the association between perceived crisis mode work climate and problems with patient information exchange.

The researchers found that hospital staff members who agreed that the unit in which they work tries to do too much too quickly, compared with those who disagreed, were more likely to perceive problems with exchanging patient information across hospital units (odds ratio, 1.6; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.58 to 1.65).

"Because effective communication during handoffs is associated with decreases in medical errors and readmissions, hospitals need to continually ensure that work environments are conducive to effective patient information exchange," the authors write.

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