What Makes An Effective Hospital Round?

By Maria Dube, MSHA, MSN, RN, CHRM – Patient Safety and Engagement

Is it time to reevaluate your hospital rounding initiatives? Are you doing all you can to institute policies to increase quality, safety, and patient engagement? As a leader of your hospital team, you may be tasked with establishing this new set of criteria for these evaluations. One of the initial key steps to take in making effective hospital rounds, is to determine and define what your team or organization is trying to accomplish by rounding.

Engagement is Crucial to the Mission


Another intangible factor is your organization’s culture – foster a culture that puts emphasis on commitment to patients and their families, such that rounding is not thought of just as an add-on task – but instead a part of an organizational effort to improve safety, quality, patient care, and patient experience. Hence, leaders and staff involvement and engagement are important in the mission. After obtaining leadership buy-in, figure out the correct strategy of how rounding can seamlessly be incorporated into (or even enhance) your team’s workflow so that participants will likely adopt what is being implemented. 

Formulating Strategies For Rounding Elements

As you begin to select and formulate your rounding disciplines, consider outlining some of these key elements to help organize your strategy:
  • What Is Your Goal?
  • What Is The Round Being Used For?
  • Who Is Going To Conduct The Rounds?
  • Who or What Is Being Observed?
  • Who Is Being Interviewed?
  • Where Will The Round Be Conducted?
  • When Will The Round Be Used? How Frequently?
  • How Much Time Will It Take To Train The Surveyors, Educate Staff?
  • What Will Be Involved With Implementing The Technology And Automation?
  • What Criteria Will Be Set In Place For Follow-up, Reporting Communication, Process Improvement, Quality Improvement And Performance Improvement, etc.?

Create Inquisitive Rounding

For rounds that are meant to elicit feedback (e.g., patient experience rounds, leadership rounds, satisfaction and engagement rounds, etc.), our recommendation is to create rounds that are inquisitive.  For example, asking the right questions and following up on what you heard. This exercise should demonstrate the curiosity needed to obtain meaningful information, stories and potential positive solutions, and maybe even gain insights into new possibilities for action.

Rounds With Focused Observation

For rounds that are meant for a more focused observation, review or interview (e.g., EOC rounds, chart/record of care audit, staff competency observation/interview, CLABSI Prevention checklist, survey readiness tools, etc.), craft questions that are more direct and address what is needed to meet regulatory codes and requirements. Such rounds are used to identify areas of opportunity, observe processes or engage staff to assess their general knowledge of established safety protocols; and information gathered can be used to construct a plan of correction or to ensure deficiency free surveys.

Bringing Technology Into The Process 

Another component to effective rounds is bringing technology into the process. Ditch pen and paper rounding, which can contribute to more paperwork, sheets of paper getting misplaced, requires manual data analysis or additional work to communicate the deficiencies discovered. Instead, utilize computers and/or mobile devices in conjunction with digital rounding tools. 
Using a digital platform allows for electronic data collection and automation – flagging features, automatic alerts, automatic notification, automate the schedule, automate the follow-up, automate the reporting, etc. 
The use of technology will significantly help to improve the survey experience. Not only will it enhance your team’s workflow and allow more time for clinical staff to spend with patients, it will also make data collection and reporting easier. This will enable greater transparency and staff engagement, improve patient safety, and increase patient satisfaction and experience. Enabling the use of digital rounding will not only create more effective and productive rounds, is will also be a significant tool to drive improvements across your entire healthcare organization.