Intensive care unit (ICU)-ward patient transfers are inherently high risk, and clinician miscommunication has been linked to adverse events and negative outcomes. Despite these risks, few educational tools exist to improve resident handoff communication at ICU-ward transfer.


We used human-centered design (HCD) methods to cocreate a novel electronic health record ICU-ward transfer tool alongside Internal Medicine residents at three Academic hospitals.


We conducted HCD workshops at each hospital, performing process mapping, brainstorming, and rapid prototyping. We performed thematic analysis on verbatim-transcribed workshop audio recordings to inform development and adaptation of the final resident prototype into the ICU-PAUSE tool.


ICU-PAUSE focuses on reasons for ICU admission and problem-based ICU course (I); Code status, goals of care, and family contacts (C); a diagnostic pause acknowledging Uncertainty (U); Pending tests (P); Active consultants (A); high-risk medications, including medications to be Unprescribed (U); Summary of problems and to-dos (S); and a current physical Exam (E).


We used HCD to cocreate a novel, more user-friendly electronic ICU-ward transfer tool, ICU-PAUSE, alongside Internal Medicine trainees. Future steps will involve formal usability testing, evidence-driven implementation, and clinical evaluation of ICU-PAUSE across multiple hospitals.


handoffs; human-centered design; qualitative research methods; quality-improvement education; transitions of care.

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Cocreating the ICU-PAUSE Tool for Intensive Care Unit-Ward Transitions

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