Article Text

other Versions

Handover training: does one size fit all? The merits of mass customisation
  1. Wendy Kicken1,
  2. Marcel Van der Klink1,
  3. Paul Barach2,3,4,
  4. HPA Boshuizen1
  1. 1Department of Celstec, Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies, Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Utrecht Medical Center, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Health Studies, University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway
  4. 4School of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Wendy Kicken, Department of Celstec, Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies, Open University, Valkenburgerweg 177, Heerlen 6419 AT, The Netherlands; Wendy.Kicken{at}


Background Experts have recommended training and standardisation as promising approaches to improve handovers and minimise the negative consequences of discontinuity of care. Yet the content and delivery of handover training have been only superficially examined and described in literature.

Objective The aim of this study was to formulate recommendations for effective handover training and to examine whether standardisation is a viable approach to training large numbers of healthcare professionals.

Methods A training needs analysis was conducted by means of a questionnaire, which was filled out by 96 healthcare professionals in primary and secondary care in the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Poland. Preferences and recommendations regarding training delivery aspects and training topics that should be included in the handover training were measured.

Results The majority of the participants recommended a short conventional training session with practice assignments, to be completed in small, multidisciplinary groups. Formal examination, e-learning and self-study were not favoured. Recommended training topics were: communication skills, standardised procedures, knowing what to hand over, alertness to vulnerable patient groups and awareness of responsibility.

Conclusions The idea of completely standardised handover training is not in line with the identified differences in preferences and recommendations between different handover stakeholders. Mass customisation of training, in which generic training is adapted to local or individual needs, presents a promising solution to address general and specific needs, while containing the financial and time costs of designing and delivering handover training.

  • Medical education
  • Patient safety
  • Hand-off
  • Quality improvement

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.