Units participating in a new WVU Medicine initiative are seeing a quick return on their investment. More importantly, patients and their families are benefitting from it, too.

A new rounding strategy that pairs doctors with nurses, an idea of the Institute for Patient Experience’s Culture Council, began as a pilot on 10 West of Ruby Memorial in July 2014. It is now standard practice on all floors of Ruby.

Staff on 10 West recently produced an educational video, outlining the benefits of multidisciplinary, team rounding. The video will be shared with the new physicians and nurses coming on board this summer, and an education plan will be implemented on each unit.

“Everybody knows what’s going on, we’re all in the same room,” Tara Bozek, an RN on 10 West, said. “We can get orders for the patient taken care of quickly and without any confusion. Families like it. Everybody’s on the same page.”

Healthcare surveys typically list communication as a key factor in poor patient outcomes, medical errors and patient dissatisfaction. Improving communication between the nurse, the physician and the patient has benefits for all involved.

Amy Litwinovich, RN, the nurse manager on 10 West, said scores from the Press-Ganey patient satisfaction survey raised dramatically shortly after the new rounding took effect. After eight weeks, all scores in the physician and nurse communication category ranked in the 99th percentile. Litwinovich examines data monthly from Press-Ganey, and, after nearly a year, some of numbers have dropped slightly but they still remain in the 80th and 90th percentile, which is higher than they were before the new strategy was incorporated.

“The process is good for patients,” Litwinovich said. "[Before the new rounding,] we sometimes had disconnects – the nurse wasn’t sure what the patient had been told or wasn’t immediately aware of changes to the care plan. The rounding piece has closed all those gaps.”

On each adult floor, doctors check in with the unit clerk, who alerts the nurses. The team assembles and reviews each patient’s case in his/her room. Having the entire care team available to answer questions is a big asset for patients and their families.

Logistics can be difficult for rounding coordination; however, most doctors and nurses see the benefit and are willing to make it work, Litwinovich said.