Circulation 122,210 • Volume 32, No. 3 • February 2018   Issue PDF

First Stoelting Conference Reaches Consensus on Many Perioperative Handover Recommendations

Jeffrey B. Cooper, PhD; Meghan Lane-Fall, MD; Aalok Agarwala, MD

The APSF convened the first Robert S. Stoelting Conference on September 6, 2017, at the Royal Palms Hotel in Phoenix, AZ, on the important topic of Perioperative Handoffs (aka handovers). With the goals of facilitating discussion about the crucial role of care transitions in safe, high-quality patient care and reaching consensus about key topics relating to handoffs, the conference was preceded by a two-stage Delphi process to help focus the conference proceedings. All attendees were invited to participate in offering their opinions on six themes related to: the common processes and behaviors of successful handovers, metrics for effective handovers, education and training for handovers, best practices for handoff process implementation, and patient engagement in perioperative handoffs.

The morning consisted of a number of presentations and Q&A sessions followed by attendees participating in a series of breakout groups with deeper discussion about each of the six themes. Each group worked through a set of draft statements created from the Delphi results by the planning committee. Following the breakout groups, the entire audience voted on the proposed consensus statements. The objective was to achieve at least 75% consensus among the participants regarding key themes related to perioperative handovers. The expectation is that such agreement will be helpful to all stakeholders in perioperative patient safety who wish to initiate new handover processes, improve existing processes, and inform the direction of research to address outstanding questions. Drs. Meghan Lane-Fall, Aalok Agarwala, and Jeffrey B. Cooper were the organizing leaders. Drs. Amanda Burden and Philip Greilich were also part of the planning committee. Over 100 people attended, representing all types of anesthesia providers, nurses, surgeons, insurance companies, educators, and researchers. Consensus was achieved on more than 50 specific statements and seven high-priority research questions. The conference, agenda, speakers, presentations, Delphi statements, photos, and additional resources can be viewed or downloaded from the conference website A full report of the findings from this important conference will appear in a future APSF Newsletter.


Dr. Cooper is immediate past Executive Vice President of the APSF. He is also Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care & Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

Dr. Lane-Fall is Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. She is Co-Director of the Penn Center for Perioperative Outcomes Research and Transformation and Assistant Director of the Penn Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety.

Dr. Agarwala is Division Chief, General Surgery Anesthesia and Associate Director, Anesthesia Quality and Safety at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

None of the authors have conflicts of interest regarding this report.