Readbacks May Help Reduce Communication Errors

Readbacks — the process by which medical orders that are relayed over the phone are repeated back to ensure accuracy — have been shown to reduce the risk of communication errors and improve patient safety, according to a study published in BMC Surgery.


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For the study, researchers administered a 12-item questionnaire to 92 providers in perioperatives services at Denver Health Medical Center. The survey measures a respondents' perception of appropriate of current readback processes; willingness to attend future training on the topic; specific scenarios in which readback may be helpful; and major barriers to readback implementation.

Respondents "overwhelmingly" agreed that readbacks were vital to reducing communication errors and improving patient safety. Respondents also strongly supported training on the readback process.

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