The evaluation of a communication tool within an acute healthcare organization

Kim Sears, Shannon T. Lewis, Mary Dee M. Craddock, Brandi R. Flowers, Lesley C. Bovie

Abstract


Background: Striving to ensure clear, concise and consistent communication, the Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendations (SBAR) tool was adopted for use within a multisite acute healthcare organization.

Objective: To evaluate the use and effectiveness of the SBAR tool on communication within a multisite acute healthcare organization.

Methods: This longitudinal study was conducted over one year and was comprised of four phases including: Phase1) pre-implementation, Phase 2) education sessions, Phase 3) post-implementation, and Phase 4) final evaluation. The study used a convenience sample that included all multidisciplinary participants from Lakeridge Health.

Results: The entire sample in this study consisted of 705 multidisciplinary participants. The number of participants that completed surveys per phase was as follows: phase 1, n = 259, phase 3, n = 209, and phase 4, n = 237. Post implementation of the SBAR tool, participants identified that the tool positively influenced the level of good communication with patients and families. 59.8% participants felt that good communication existed within their function, 47.4% identified that good communication existed within their discipline, 45% recognized that the SBAR tool would work on their units and 53.6% participants identified that they were familiar with the SBAR tool. During the final evaluation of the SBAR tool, the majority of respondent 66.2% believed the tool would reduce the potential for errors, 70% felt that the SBAR process was useful in facilitating communication with other team members or patients, 53.7% of participants felt communication flow between members of their area or discipline had improved since the implementation of SBAR, 52.1% of participants felt communication flow between themselves and their colleagues had improved since the implementation of SBAR and 71.7% of participants identified that they were satisfied when using SBAR that their message was received and understood.

Conclusion: This study is the first study to investigate the use of the SBAR tool across a multisite acute healthcare organization. The tool demonstrated positive results in relation to improving communication with patients and families within the organization. As patients and families are key members of the healthcare team, this finding is important. Although not meeting with a significant change, all of the questions that examined communication, i.e. good communication within function and good interdisciplinary communication, had a positive finding after the implement-tation of the SBAR tool. This study examined the importance of leadership to create and sustain a change and the relevance of the culture that people are working within to advance quality within an organization.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5430/jha.v3n5p79

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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