Impact of a Standardized EMS Handoff Tool on Inpatient Medical Record Documentation at a Level I Trauma Center

Joseph K. Maddry, Allyson A. Arana, Melissa A. Clemons, Kimberly L. Medellin, Nicole M. Shults, Crystal A. Perez, Shelia C. Savell, Xandria E. Gutierrez, Lauren K. Reeves, Alejandra G. Mora, Vikhyat S. Bebarta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The emergency department (ED) poses challenges to effective handoff from emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to ED staff. Despite the importance of a complete and accurate patient handoff report between EMS and trauma staff, communication is often interrupted, incomplete, or otherwise ineffective. The Mechanism of injury/Medical Complaint, Injuries or Inspections head to toe, vital Signs, and Treatments (MIST) report initiative was implemented to standardize the handoff process. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether documentation of prehospital care in the inpatient medical record improved after MIST implementation. Methods: Research staff abstracted data from the EMS and inpatient medical records of trauma patients transported by EMS and treated at a Level I trauma center from January 2015 through June 2017. Data included patient demographics, mechanism and location of injury, vital signs, treatments, and period of data collection (pre-MIST and post-MIST). We summarized the MIST elements in EMS and inpatient medical records and assessed the presence or absence of data elements in the inpatient record from the EMS record and the agreement between the two sets of records over time to determine if implementation of MIST improved documentation. Results: We analyzed data from 533 trauma patients transported by EMS and treated in a Level I trauma center (pre-MIST: n = 281; post-MIST: n = 252). For mechanism of injury, agreement between the two records was ≥96% before and after MIST implementation. Cardiac arrest and location of injury were under-reported in the inpatient record before MIST; post-MIST, there were no significant discrepancies, indicating an improvement in reporting. Reporting of prehospital hypotension improved from 76.5% pre-MIST to 83.3% post-MIST. After MIST implementation, agreement between the EMS and inpatient records increased for the reporting of fluid administration (45.6% to 62.7%) and decreased for reporting of pain medications (72.2% to 61.9%). Conclusions: The use of the standardized MIST tool for EMS to hospital patient handoff was associated with a mixed value on inpatient documentation of prehospital events. After MIST implementation, agreement was higher for mechanism and location of injury and lower for vital signs and treatments. Further research can advance the prehospital to treatment facility handoff process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-663
Number of pages8
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • MIST
  • emergency department
  • emergency medical services
  • patient handoff

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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