Clinical handover


What is clinical handover?

Clinical handover is:

"...is an explicit transfer of information supporting the transfer of clinical accountability and responsibility between healthcare professionals to enable continuity of care for the patient”.

Failure in clinical handover is a major source of preventable patient harm.

As a routine process, clinical handover can be improved by the use of tools and techniques that standardise the process, while leaving room for situational variation.

The standardised structure for all clinical handovers is iSoBAR2:

  • Identify
  • Situation
  • Observations
  • Background
  • Agree to a plan
  • Readback

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (external site) has a number of iSoBAR tools available on their website.

Clinical handover policy

The objective of the Clinical Handover Policy (MP 0095/15) (external site) is to ensure clinical handover is conducted in a similarly structured manner across WA Health Service Providers. The requirements of this Policy are supported by the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (2nd ed.).

This Policy is a mandatory requirement under the Clinical Governance, Safety and Quality Policy Framework and supersedes OD 0484/14 Clinical Handover Policy.

This Policy applies to all Health Service Providers to the extent that they provide inpatient care and Contracted Health Entities to the extent that this Policy forms part of their contract.

The following may support the implementation of the Policy:

More information

Patient Safety and Clinical Quality
Address: 189 Royal Street, East Perth
Phone: 9222 
Email: RoyalSt.PSCQ@health.wa.gov.au

Last reviewed: 16-08-2019
Produced by

Patient Safety and Clinical Quality