Flip No. 71

Medical Mad Libs for Knowledge Transfer Between Clinician Shifts

How to quickly learn get up to speed on a patient’s personal life.

By Philadelphia Lab Participants

Developed at Flip the Clinic Lab: Philadelphia

When patients are in the hospital, they spend a lot of their time with nurses. By the end of their shifts, nurses have administered countless tests, they’ve listening to problems, made patients comfortable, and chatted with family members. When a new nurse comes on, patients sometimes feel like they’ve lost the person in the hospital they know best.

What if nurses had a simple tool that could ease that transition? A quick list of questions could get nurses up to speed on their patients. This quick list could include the important people in a patient’s life, and other important happenings that don’t always make it into the medical record.

Borrowing from the game Mad Libs, hospitals could create a short and pithy questionnaire to let nurses quickly learn more about their patients—even before they start taking their vital signs. It would help nurses understand who their patients are, and also signal to patients that even though staffing has changed, they’re still in caring hands.


This is (    NAME     ) who is (      AGE      ) (      GENDER     ) s/he is with (     HOUSEHOLD   ), and the other supportive people in her/his life are (        OTHER PEOPLE      ). He/r primary activities include (       ACTIVITIES       ). His/Her personal situation is (     JOB, OTHER FAMILY STRESS, ETC.       ) She presented with ……..

Other Applications:

Imagine the other venues a form like this could be used? Pharmacists could use it to bridge the gap between times when a patient comes in for medication. Medical residents could use it between 30-hour shifts, and overnight physicians can use it when picking up after the doctor covering the patient during the day.