Date of Award


Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Human Factors


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Joseph R. Keebler, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Elizabeth H. Lazzara, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Laura L. Roberts, M.D.


Communication failures have been cited as the leading cause of avoidable adverse events in healthcare. Specifically, within handoffs, these communication failures can cause error in the transfer of patient information. A multitude of factors can affect the transmission of patient information between providers including transactive memory, power distance, and conversational noise; however, literature suggests that the use of handoff protocols assist in improving communication and efficiency during handoffs. Studies regarding handoffs have typically centered on the content or delivery of the information during the handoff. To date, none have targeted the underlying mechanisms of the communication and their effects on the handoff conversation between providers. Furthermore, protocol creation is commonly accomplished using Delphi methods, rather than empirical methods. This dissertation aims to implement an empirically derived handoff protocol and to test variables grounded in the communication mechanisms of the handoff conversation, which are associated with handoff efficiency.