Practice: use of standardised tools for communication
Safe communications within and between teams
Some ideas that your team could try:
The sections below provide more information about why these are important. You will find practical examples, evidence, tools, templates and training resources that you could use to support your improvements.
- Why it is important to use standardised tools for communication in practice
The use of standardised templates for communication encourages consistency and clarity, whilst supporting processes of care, acting as a record of treatment/decision-making, and reducing duplication/repetition.
Key Information Summary (KIS)
KIS is an electronic template that allows GP surgeries to record agreed key information, on a selected group of patients, for access by other healthcare services.
Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR)
SBAR has been widely used by healthcare teams as a focused way of transferring information about a person's condition. It was originally developed by the military to create a reliable, consistent process to share concise, clear, focused information. The aim is to communicate critical information in an understandable way, and SBAR communication is normally brief. Most SBAR templates are around one page of A4, two at most.
Immediate Discharge Letter (IDL)
When a person is discharged after a stay in hospital, essential information is sent to the person’s GP, to allow the GP to continue the person’s care and management. The preparation and sharing of accurate, timely records of care and treatment are central aspects of good clinical practice. The content, structure and production (particularly the timeliness) of discharge documents are critical.
- Evidence, examples and training resources to support the use of standardised tools for communication in practice
The guidance to support this rationale is based on best practice. Examples of this can be seen in:
- SIGN 128: The SIGN discharge document (June 2012). A minimum dataset for the IDD was published by SIGN in 1996 (SIGN 5), revised and updated by SIGN in 2003 (SIGN 65).
- CEL 19 (2013) - Patient safety essentials and safety priorities.