Quality improvement opportunities for handover practices in birth centres: A case study from a process perspective

Margaretha Hitzert, I.C. Boesveld, M.A.A. Hermus, J.P. de Graaf, T.A. Wiegers, E.A.P. Steegers, Bert Meijboom, Henk Akkermans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Rationale, aims and objectives
Handovers within and between health care settings are known to affect quality of care. Health care organizations, struggle how to guarantee best care during handovers. The aim of this paper is to evaluate handover practices in Dutch birth centres from a process perspective, to identify obstacles and opportunities for quality improvements.

This case study in 7 Dutch birth centres was undertaken from a process perspective by conducting observations and using process mapping. This study is part of the Dutch Birth Centre Study.

Solutions to obstacles during handovers from a birth centre to a hospital were identified in at least 1 of the 7 birth centres. Four of the centres had agreements with a hospital for client support when a caregiver in a birth centre was absent. Face‐to‐face communication during handover was observed in 6 of the 7 centres. An electronic health record was noted in 1 centre; joint training of acute situations was available in 2 centres with 3 centres indicating that this was not compulsory. Continuity of caregiver was present in 4 birth centres with postpartum care available in 3 centres.

Ensuring quality during handovers requires a case‐specific process approach. This study reveals distinctive aspects during handovers, concrete obstacles, and potential solutions for quality improvements in inter‐organizational networks, transferrable to birth centres in other countries as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-597
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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