SBAR improves nurse-physician communication and reduces unexpected death: A pre and post intervention study.

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(image attribution HERE)

Ok here is the article
SBAR improves nurse-physician communication and reduces unexpected death: A pre and post intervention study

What is SBAR ?
Here is a nice concise explanation
SBAR for improved communication

So this Belgium cohort study with historical control examined nurses communication with doctors and each other. Serious adverse events and unplanned ICU admissions were recorded outcome measures. SBAR education program was instituted as a quality improvement intervention. This was only done for nurses. Doctors were given a critical thinking educational program but not SBAR communication training. The same outcome measures were tracked for the same time period after the intervention was instituted.

Results showed significant reduction in unexpected deaths in particular and increased unplanned ICU admissions.

Interpretation/relevance:
The study is limited by historical control. This means we cannot truly say the outcome differences are due solely to the intervention. It could have been coincidental or due to general increased awareness of patient safety issues as result of the study.
However it may not matter as it is probable that the study and intervention combined played a major role in the outcomes, so it demonstrates that education programs on communication and patient safety in general can influence hard measures of clinical performance and quality care.
Believe it or not, this is very relevant to prehospital and retrieval medicine! Structured communication between retrieval teams and referring staff can make life or death differences!
Its very tempting to think buying a sexy videolaryngoscope or ultrasound machine is going to lead to great improvements in patient quality and safety but the fact is, its the basic stuff like good communication that saves lives, regardless of your job title!

3 thoughts on “SBAR improves nurse-physician communication and reduces unexpected death: A pre and post intervention study.”

  1. Ain’t that the truth! Often times it is the simple things (communication, beds, decent access & lighting and a regular routine) that bring order out of chaos)

    My current bug bear – trying to persuade resus team to STOP and listen to the paramedic handover when dropping off a patient. ISBAR helps.

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