SBAR Technique for Communication: A Situational Briefing Model

Kaiser Permanente of Colorado
Evergreen, Colorado, USA

The SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation) technique provides a framework for communication between members of the health care team about a patient's condition. SBAR is an easy-to-remember, concrete mechanism useful for framing any conversation, especially critical ones, requiring a clinician’s immediate attention and action. It allows for an easy and focused way to set expectations for what will be communicated and how between members of the team, which is essential for developing teamwork and fostering a culture of patient safety.

Background
Michael Leonard, MD, Physician Leader for Patient Safety, along with colleagues Doug Bonacum and Suzanne Graham at Kaiser Permanente of Colorado (Evergreen, Colorado, USA) developed this technique. The SBAR technique has been implemented widely at health systems such as Kaiser Permanente.

Directions
This tool has two documents:

  • SBAR Guidelines (“Guidelines for Communicating with Physicians Using the SBAR Process”): Explains in detail how to implement the SBAR technique
  • SBAR Worksheet (“SBAR report to physician about a critical situation”): A worksheet/script that a provider can use to organize information in preparation for communicating with a physician about a critically ill patient
Both the worksheet and the guidelines use the physician team member as the example; however, they can be adapted for use with all other health professionals.
 
Related Literature
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  10. Sherwood G, Thomas E, Bennett DS, Lewis P. A teamwork model to promote patient safety in critical care. Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America. 2002;14(4):333-340.
  11. Young GJ, Charns MP, Daley J, Forbes MG, Henderson W, Khuri SF. Best practices for managing surgical services: The role of coordination. Health Care Management Review. 1997;22(4):72-81.
 

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