SafetyFirst: Repeat-Backs and Read-Backs

February 3, 2012 No Comments   


SafetyFirst: Repeat-Backs and Read-Backs

“That’s correct.”

Two simple words can make a big difference. When you communicate routine, but important information, use the repeat-back technique to make sure what you said is what was heard.

Here’s how it works:

Sender/Nurse: I’m calling because Mrs. Campbell’s blood pressure dropped to 78 over 50.
Receiver/Physician: I understand. Mrs. Campbell’s blood pressure is now 78 over 50.
Sender/Nurse: That’s correct.

What happens when you order a beverage at Starbucks or pick up a burger at your local fast food restaurant? The Starbucks employee writes your order on the cup, then calls the drink order to the barista who is making it: That’s a tall, nonfat, extra-hot latte.

This technique is called read-back. It’s nearly identical to repeat-back except you write down the information – rather than relying on your memory. Importantly, the Joint Commission requires read-backs for all telephone orders and telephone reporting of critical lab values.

Repeat-backs and read-backs are one of the seven safety behaviors we’re learning and adopting as part of our SafetyFirst initiative.

Saint Joseph and KentuckyOne Health reminds you to learn and adopt repeat-backs and read-backs to make care safer for our patients and each other.

Watch for more information about safety and error prevention techniques to put into practice as part of the SafetyFirst initiative!

Click here for a worksheet you can use to review Repeat-Backs and Read-Backs with your staff.
Click here for a flyer you can post about Repeat-Backs and Read-Backs.

Patient Care

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