Course: Risk Management Consult: Handoffs and Hospitalists
Author: Rosemary Gafner and James Schutte
AMA PRA Category 1 credits: 5
Estimated Hours to Complete Course: 4.50
Estimated Minutes to Complete Test: 30
Course Release Date: 1/1/2021
Course Expiration Date: 12/31/2021
A course for anyone who practices hospital medicine

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Fortunately, most malpractice suits are avoidable.  That’s because the underlying problem is rarely the doctor’s lack of skill or expertise, but instead lies in a faulty understanding of the nature and scope of his or her duty as a physician under the given circumstances.  Such misunderstandings are often compounded by poor communication practices while carrying out such basic tasks as sharing findings with other health care professionals, explaining follow-up instructions clearly to the patient, reviewing test results and medical records, and so on. This course will present ways to avoid such problems and thus improve patient safety in the hospital.


When you complete this course, you should be able to:

1. Describe the liability considerations involved when one doctor is expected to receive and follow up on the results of medical tests ordered by another physician.
2. Explain how poorly managed hand-offs threaten the continuity of patient care.
3. Discuss the basic principles of facilitating a smooth hand-off.
4. List your own responsibilities in ensuring that the patient receives appropriate follow-up care.
5. Explain your nondelegable duties as a physician.
6. Explain how the SBAR communication model works and how it can facilitate better hand-offs.

Target Audience

This course is designed for physicians who want to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors caused by flawed communication with other physicians.


This is a self-study course consisting of text and CME test.  Physicians should read the course content, answer the test questions and submit the answers for scoring.  Those who complete the course with a score of 80 percent or higher will earn a maximum of 5 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.


This course was developed by Rosemary Gafner, Ed.D. and James E. Schutte, Ph.D.  Their CVs are online at

CME Information

Medical Risk Management, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing education for physicians.  Medical Risk Management, Inc.designates this enduring material for a maximum of 5 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity is valid for release January 1, 2021 and expires on December 31, 2021.

Estimated time to complete this course: 5 hours.

Commercial Support

This activity was developed by Medical Risk Management, Inc. without commercial support.


No one in a position to influence course content has anything to disclose.