Assessing SBAR during intraoperative handoff

Hawthorne Hunter, Cohen Tara, Cammon Wesley, Bingener Juliane, Hallbeck Susan, Santrach Paula, Elliott Sara, Lindeen Kevin, Kang Ji Yun, Blocker Renaldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background The purpose of the current study was to explore the use of SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) for handoffs between surgical team members six years after implementation in a large academic tertiary care center. Methods Researchers observed 23 operative procedures for the presence of SBAR components (“S”,“B”,“A”,“R”) and the duration of handoffs by role type (circulating registered nurses (RN), certified surgical technicians (CST), certified surgical assistants/first assistants (CSA), and anesthesia team members(ANES)). Handoffs by role were further investigated between the giver and receiver of information defined as “personnel-change”. Inter-rater reliability, descriptive statistics, ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis tests and appropriate post hoc tests were employed. Results Overall, of 119 handoffs observed, each on average addressed 67% of the four possible components. Specifically, 90% included component “S”, 58% included “B”, 64% included “A” and 55% included “R”. The frequency of SBAR components used differed by role type, (ANES included components “B”, “A” and more factors in total than CSA), as well as the duration of each handoff (ANES handoffs were longer than CST and CSA). Frequency of components used also differed significantly by personnel-change type (handoffs from original members to relief included significantly more SBAR components). Conclusion Findings suggest that while handoffs included most of the four SBAR factors, each varied by role type as well as personnel-change type involved. While SBAR has been implemented in several healthcare organizations, it may not be a “one-size fits all” model for all involved in the transfer of information and responsibility of care intraoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-10
Number of pages4
JournalPerioperative Care and Operating Room Management
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Handoff(s)
  • Intraoperative communication
  • Intraoperative handoff
  • Perioperative communication
  • SBAR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Medical–Surgical
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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