How hospital rounds are done could impact patient safety

One key part of patient care at hospitals are rounds. Rounds are daily meetings the medical professionals involved in a patient's have to discuss treatment and care. Traditionally, rounds have largely been done away from patients and their families. However, a recent study suggests that bringing patients and their families into the rounds process may be able to help with patient safety.

The study looked at a handful of pediatric hospitals. At these hospitals, a system of having rounds done in patients’ rooms and in a way where patients and their families could be actively involved in the process was implemented. The study compared medical error likelihood before and after the implementation of this system.

The study found that while medical errors generally held steady, medical errors that were harmful went down by 38 percent after the shift in how rounds were done.

Harmful medical errors can have considerable impacts on patients and their families. These impacts can last for a very long time. So, it is very important for patients to get fair compensation when negligence at hospitals leads to them being subjected to such errors. It is also very important for the medical community to work hard to find ways to reduce the likelihood of such errors.

It is important to note that the study just involved pediatric hospitals. The researchers hope to do future research looking at non-pediatric hospitals.

Hospitals currently vary quite a bit in how rounds are done. Some have the more traditional form of rounds mostly being done away from patients. Among hospitals where rounds are often done at patients’ bedsides, there is great variation in how much involvement of patients and their families in rounds is promoted and facilitated.

What do you think of the results of the study? What do you think it would take for there to be a big movement towards greater patient/family involvement in rounds at hospitals here in the U.S.? Do you think such a shift would lead to big improvements in patient care and patient experience at hospitals?

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