Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ward rounds

Enslev Jensen, Birgitte; Anne Found, Pauline; Williams, Sharon J. and Walley, Paul (2016). Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ward rounds. International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, 8(3) pp. 279–297.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-05-2016-0039

Abstract

Purpose
Ward rounds in hospitals are crucial for decision-making in the context of patient treatment processes. However, these tasks are not systematically managed and are often extended due to missing information or equipment or staff unavailability. This research aims to assess whether ward rounds can be structured more efficiently and effectively from the perspective of patients and staff.

Design/methodology/approach
This mixed-method approach examines the ward rounds conducted in three units within a haematology department of a major Danish hospital. Baseline measures were collected to capture the value of the ward round described by patients and staff. The information on patient and equipment flows associated with a typical ward round was mapped with recommendations for improvement.

Findings
Staff aspired to deliver a good-quality ward round, but what this meant was never articulated and there were no established standards. The duration of the ward round was unpredictable and could take 6 hours to complete. Improvements identified by the team allow the ward rounds to be completed by mid-day with much more certainty.

Research limitations/implications
This research provides an insight as to how ward rounds are conducted within a Danish haematology department.

Practical implications
The research has implications for those involved in ward rounds to reduce the time taken whilst maintaining quality and safety of patient care.

Social implications
This research has implications for patients and their families who wish to spend time with consultants.

Originality/value
Previous research has focused on the interactions between doctors and nurses. This research focuses on the operational process of the ward round and presents a structured approach to support multi-disciplinary teams with a focus on value from the patient’s perspective.

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