Impact of EHR-based rounding tools on interactive communication: A prospective observational study

Joanna Abraham, Joanna Jaros, Imade Ihianle, Karl Kochendorfer, Thomas Kannampallil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Structured rounding tools have shown to improve the overall efficiency and perceived satisfaction with the rounding process. However, little is known about how EHR-integrated rounding tools impact the content, structure and interactivity of communication during rounds. Method: We conducted a prospective pre-post evaluation with two rounding tools: a Microsoft Word-based fillable rounding tool (usual tool), and an EHR-integrated rounding report tool (RRT). 27 clinicians across two teams participated in rounds for 169 patients (nusual=84, nRRT=85). We audio-recorded and coded communication during rounds using conversational analysis methods. Using the coded communication interactions, we investigated differences between the two tools on: clinical content discussed, questions raised, and breakdowns in interactive communication. Additionally, we gathered clinician perspectives on the rounding tools through follow-up interviews. Results: We found that the use of RRT was associated with significantly more discussion of patient identifiers (e.g., name), and action items (e.g., to-do list) and significantly less discussion of imaging (e.g., X-rays) than the usual tool. RRT was also associated with fewer questions (t = 3.1, p = 0.03), and correspondingly, fewer responses (t = 3.2, p = 0.02). Communication breakdowns related to incorrect responses was fewer during the use of RRT (t = 0.5, p = 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences in the time spent for rounding between the two tools. Conclusions: Our findings showed that RRT impacted rounding workflow: during pre-rounding, by saving time and effort in gathering information from multiple sources; during rounding, by streamlining content of the conversations using the structured RRT template; and during post-rounding, by supporting explicit discussion of patient tasks and action items for patient care planning and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-429
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Breakdowns
  • Communication
  • Conversational analysis
  • Rounding
  • Team communication


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