Impact of structured rounding tools on time allocation during multidisciplinary rounds: An observational study

Joanna Abraham, Thomas G. Kannampallil, Vimla L. Patel, Bela Patel, Khalid F. Almoosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Recent research has shown evidence of disproportionate time allocation for patient communication during multidisciplinary rounds (MDRs). Studies have shown that patients discussed later during rounds receive lesser time. Objective: The aim of our study was to investigate whether disproportionate time allocation effects persist with the use of structured rounding tools. Methods: Using audio recordings of rounds (N=82 patients), we compared time allocation and communication breakdowns between a problem-based Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan (SOAP) and a system-based Handoff Intervention Tool (HAND-IT) rounding tools. Results: We found no significant linear dependence of the order of patient presentation on the time spent or on communication breakdowns for both structured tools. However, for the problem-based tool, there was a significant linear relationship between the time spent on discussing a patient and the number of communication breakdowns (P<.05)-with an average of 1.04 additional breakdowns with every 120 seconds in discussion. Conclusions: The use of structured rounding tools potentially mitigates disproportionate time allocation and communication breakdowns during rounds, with the more structured HAND-IT, almost completely eliminating such effects. These results have potential implications for planning, prioritization, and training for time management during MDRs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Communication
  • Intensive care units
  • Teaching rounds


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