A relatively recent article by Gonzalo et al published in J Gen Intern Med in 2010 begs to answer the longterm debated question of whether or not to bedside round. In recent years, bedside rounds have decreased in frequency due to inefficency and general lack of preference among the residents. There is a lack of literature indicating whether or not bedside rounds imporve overall patient outcomes.
In the present study, Gonzalo and colleagues aim to evaluate the impact of bedside rounds vs. walking rounds on patient encounters, duration of patient interaction, and overall resident and patient preference. They found that there was no significant difference in rounding times between bedside and walking rounds. Also, patients preferred bedside rounds as they perceived it as more time spent on patient care. Ironically, residents performing bedside rounds were less likely to agree that bedside rounds were in fact more educational than walk rounds. However, all in all, it was agreed upon that bedside rounds are invaluable in terms of patient care since patients perceive it as more time spent.
In my personal opinion, I am a proponent of bedside rounds. I think that from a student’s perspective the learning is invaluable. Furthermore, if patients perceive it as potentially more beneficial then it should be implemented. This type of study would benefit from a larger multi-center study to see if bedside rounds actually have an impact on patient outcomes.