Handoffs in Radiology: Minimizing Communication Errors and Improving Care Transitions

Judah Burns, Sarah Ciccarelli, Edward Mardakhaev, Amichai Erdfarb, Shlomit Goldberg-Stein, Jacqueline A. Bello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Handoffs are essential to achieving safe care transitions. In radiology practice, frequent transitions of care responsibility among clinicians, radiologists, and patients occur between moments of care such as determining protocol, imaging, interpreting, and consulting. Continuity of care is maintained across these transitions with handoffs, which are the process of communicating patient information and transferring decision-making responsibility. As a leading cause of medical error, handoffs are a major communication challenge that is exceedingly common in both diagnostic and interventional radiology practice. The frequency of handoffs in radiology underscores the importance of using evidence-based strategies to improve patient safety in the radiology department. In this article, reliability science principles and handoff improvement tools are adapted to provide radiology-focused strategies at individual, team, and organizational levels with the goal of minimizing handoff errors and improving care transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1297-1309
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Care transitions
  • handoffs
  • quality
  • safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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