Advantages and Disadvantages of the SBAR Technique

Home » Blog » Tips » Advantages and Disadvantages of the SBAR Technique

Advantages and Disadvantages of the SBAR Technique

The SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation) technique provides a framework for communication about a patient’s condition among members of the health care team.

S = Stands for Situation (a concise statement of the problem)
B = Background (pertinent and brief information related to the situation)
A = Assessment (analysis and options considerations — what you discovered/believe)
R = Recommendation (requested/recommended action — what you want)

SBAR is a simple, concrete mechanism for framing any conversation, especially those that require a clinician’s immediate attention and action. It enables an easy and focused way to set expectations for what will be communicated and how between team members, which is critical for developing teamwork and fostering a patient safety culture.

What Are the Advantages of Using the SBAR Technique?

  • The SBAR technique is applicable in a variety of healthcare settings, including acute care and rehabilitation. It is critical to understand how to use it in various situations, as different situations may necessitate different communication styles. The SBAR technique differs from other methods in several ways. In this article, we will look at the benefits and drawbacks of SBAR and other communication tools. By reviewing the following information, you can determine whether the SBAR technique is most appropriate for your situation.
  • The SBAR technique is useful because it provides nurses with a framework for quickly and efficiently communicating important details of potentially dangerous situations. It ensures that other members of the healthcare team receive all relevant information in an organized and timely manner, along with specific instructions on how to respond. The SBAR technique can be a useful tool for anyone learning communication strategies.

These findings highlight the potential importance of implementing SBAR in clinical practice to improve

(1) Telephone communication from nurses to doctors in critical situations.
(2) General patient hand-off, and
(3) Overall team communication.

  • The issue of critical information being left out of communications between healthcare professionals has long been a patient safety concern. SBAR has worked to significantly improve communication methods in a hospital setting. It has been shown to be especially effective when implemented by nurses, resulting in improved patient outcomes.
  • According to a comparative study published in the National Library of Medicine, the use of SBAR by nurses resulted in a lower rate of serious adverse events in hospital wards. It was discovered that introducing SBAR as common practice for nurses increased their perception of effective communication as well as collaboration. There was also a reduction in unanticipated deaths.
  • The impact of SBAR on hierarchical barriers, user confidence, report length, and exchanged information stems primarily from the provision of a standardized process for handoff reporting and could thus be achieved using a standardized procedure other than SBAR.
  • However, in addition to the benefits of standardization, using the SBAR template produces several primary benefits that are derived directly from SBAR characteristics. The SBAR technique, in particular, establishes a process for handoff reporting that works across disciplines, improves health providers’ perceptions of communication, and advances the culture of safety.
  • While the SBAR tool was designed for use between nurses and physicians, a review of the literature on SBAR, communication, and patient safety suggests that it can be used in situations other than nurse-physician scenarios. In addition to improving nurse-physician interactions, using the SBAR tool promotes the perception of effective communication and advances the safety culture of healthcare organizations, resulting in an increased willingness of healthcare providers to use the tool based on the belief that SBAR has a real impact on patient safety.
  • The standardization of communication with the SBAR tool, regardless of the user’s profession, level of the hierarchy, or years of experience, promotes effective, accurate, and clear communication, extending the benefits produced by SBAR tool implementation.
  • The most common problem reported in a 2013 review of studies addressing communication errors during handover was the omission of detailed patient information. SBAR has been proposed as a solution to this problem by applying a system and structure to information presentation.
  • Using the SBAR communication model on pediatric units results in more effective and improved family and patient outcomes. When producing bedside reports, using SBAR increases patient and family satisfaction as well as their level of comfort when dealing with unusual situations. SBAR also enables nurses to be more efficient when reporting to patients outside of their rooms. SBAR is a communication model that standardizes information to be given and lessons on communication variability, resulting in reports that are concise, objective, and relevant.
  • Another advantage of using SBAR is that it provides patients with the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about their treatment plan. SBAR allows patients to be fully aware of who their nurse is on each shift, which adds to their sense of security knowing that there will always be someone around to look after them during shift change.
  • SBAR use has not only improved the relationship between doctors and nurses, but it has also resulted in a significant improvement in patients’ overall health. This resulted in fewer hospitalizations and deaths, as well as improved communication between the nurse and doctor, which resulted in fewer unexpected deaths. The issue with communication between nurses and doctors is that their levels of teamwork and interaction differ, resulting in ineffective communication.
  • SBAR has been used in quality improvement projects aimed at reducing hospitalizations.

What Are the Disadvantages of SBAR Technique?

  • SBAR is a difficult concept to learn and apply, and as such, it necessitates extensive education on the subject, as well as the necessary follow-up. A supportive environment, role-playing, and a skills assessment may be beneficial.
  • More emphasis should be placed on recommendation, as it has been observed that the R in SBAR has been the weak point of nurses. Giving physicians advice on what to do can be intimidating for some nurses.
  • One disadvantage of using the SBAR communication model in bedside reporting is having to wake up patients and families when bedside charting occurs. If patients and their families choose not to be awakened and involved in bedside charting, health care professionals and units must find another way to deal with their decisions.
  • Another disadvantage of using SBAR when bedside charting is the risk of disclosing sensitive topics or new information that has not been shared with the patient and/or family prior to or after bedside charting. Another option is for nurses to plan to share new or sensitive information before or after the bedside report.
  • Using SBAR communication when bedside charting disadvantages itself by sharing confidential information with the patient, which may be overheard by other patients. The effective communication model promoted by SBAR allows for confidential information to be disclosed when nurses and doctors have discussions with patients, causing patients and their families to have negative attitudes toward participating in bedside charting and, as a result, interfering with the use of the SBAR communication model.
  • All clinical staff must be trained on the SBAR tool so that communication is clear. All health care providers must adopt and maintain structured communication formats, which necessitate a cultural shift.
  • An effort was made to identify all relevant trials in order to assess the impact of SBAR implementation in clinical practice on patient safety. An open search strategy was used to search five well-known databases as well as the references of the studies that met the inclusion criteria. Because no grey literature was searched, trials may have gone unnoticed.
  • Two independent reviewers ensured the reliability of study selection, data extraction, and study quality rating.
  • To assess SBAR’s impact on patient safety, the inclusion criteria were limited to trials that reported at least one ‘hard’ patient outcome parameter. This review found no evidence of improvement in potentially soft outcomes such as increased employee satisfaction and interdisciplinary communication with improvements in communication perception, interdisciplinary teamwork, completeness, and efficiency of communication.
  • Finally, trials in which SBAR was only a minor component of a complex intervention were excluded from this review. These trials may contain potential evidence for an improvement in patient safety as a result of SBAR implementation.

Why Should SBAR Be Used?

-SBAR is recognized as a best practice for healthcare practitioners by the Joint Commission. They describe it as “a powerful tool used to improve the effectiveness of communication between individuals.” This is due to the fact that SBAR has the advantage of conveying a complete message in a concise manner.

-The advantage of being able to paint a complete picture with this communication method is accuracy. Through SBAR, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are better able to communicate accurate information and recommendations regarding a patient’s situation.

-With SBAR as the standard in healthcare, communication has become more streamlined. This means that as communication becomes more systematic, there is less room for human error.

Is the SBAR Tool Useful?

SBAR can be used in any setting, but it is especially effective in lowering the barriers to effective communication across disciplines and between levels of staff. When clinical staff uses the tool, they make a recommendation to ensure that the reason for the communication is clear.

Is SBAR Beneficial to Patient Safety?

SBAR is thought to foster accurate information exchange and dialogue, and the WHO recommends its use in healthcare to improve patient safety. 5 Important information can be transferred in a brief and concise manner, and in a predictable structure, using the communication tool SBAR.

Why Has SBAR Become Effective in InterProfessional Communication?

SBAR is recognized by the Joint Commission as a best practice for healthcare practitioners. It has been described as “a powerful tool used to improve the effectiveness of communication between individuals.” This is because SBAR has the advantage of conveying a complete message in a concise manner.

SBAR Improves Communication in What Ways?

SBAR was developed by the United States Navy to improve communication of critical information and is now widely used to standardize patient handoff practice. It can be used in the clinical setting to organize information into a logical, easily remembered pattern, which speeds up the handoff process and reduces error.

What Is the Purpose of SBAR in Nursing?

Nurses play an important role in ensuring successful team performance by communicating relevant and critical information. The SBAR technique facilitates focused and easy communication between nurses, particularly during patient care transitions from one nurse to another.

SBAR Improves Patient Safety in What Ways?

The main goal of the SBAR technique is to improve communication effectiveness by standardizing the communication process. SBAR provides effective and efficient communication, resulting in better patient outcomes, according to published evidence.


So, these are all the advantages and disadvantages of SBAR. The SBAR communication tool is a structured communication tool that has been shown to reduce adverse events in a hospital setting. Several medical associations and leading healthcare organizations have endorsed the SBAR communication tool for healthcare provider handoff.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.