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Clin Teach. 2015 Apr;12(2):94-8. doi: 10.1111/tct.12271.

Bedside rounds versus board rounds in an emergency department.

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Emergency Department, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Erratum in

  • Clin Teach. 2015 Jun;12(3):222.



Our objective was to gain insight into whether bedside rounding at shift turnover in the emergency department improved education quality, as compared with board rounds. Board rounds are commonly used in the emergency department, where the teams review the patient and transfer care near a computer screen or written board, rather than at the patient's bedside. The impact on teaching or patient care has not been extensively compared between the two approaches.


We conducted a prospective study in an academic emergency department to compare bedside rounds versus board rounds. A convenience sample of 408-hour clinical shifts were randomised to either bedside or board rounds. Data collected included frequency of discussion of differential diagnosis, questions asked per patient, total time for which alternative therapies were discussed, total time for which alternative tests were discussed, total time for which exam findings were discussed and demonstrated, and resident impression of education quality.


The randomisation of 20 shifts in each cohort provided a total of 274 patient cases. Our primary outcome was an increased frequency of discussion of the differential diagnosis, which occurred more often in the bedside group (72 versus 53%). We also detected that with bedside rounding more questions per patient were asked, and alternative therapies and tests, exam findings and results were discussed more often.


Bedside rounding in the emergency department, as compared with board rounding, appears to increase the frequency of learner education measures. Emergency medicine residents reported the quality of education was better with bedside rounding. Bedside rounds took on average 4 minutes longer, without achieving statistical significance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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