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Patient Rounding Tech Gains Popularity, Boosts Patient Satisfaction

Organizations that adopt patient rounding tools are seeing higher patient satisfaction rates.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- Patient rounding tools are on the rise, as healthcare organizations go digital while looking for strategies to streamline hospital management and improve patient satisfaction, according to a recent KLAS report.

Patient rounding calls on providers – typically nurses, although doctors, physician assistants, hospital administrators, and other figures can conduct patient rounding, as well – to check in on patients and families usually during a hospital stay. Many hospitals have traditionally used paper schedules to record patient rounding habits, but according to KLAS the use of paper tools is fading out.

Instead, providers are opting for technology that allows nurses and providers to manage, assign, and analyze patient rounding.

“The ability to track when and how often rounding takes place helps organizations be more consistent with their rounding programs,” KLAS wrote in the report. “Some organizations that did rounding before their digital solution was installed note that post-implementation they were surprised when the digital solution’s reports indicated that rounding was occurring much less frequently than had been assumed.”

Ninety-one percent of healthcare organizations use patient rounding technology to help nurses. Fifty-nine percent of organizations use these tools to administrator rounding with hospital employees, 58 percent for leadership rounding with patients, and 42 percent for staff rounding with patients’ families.

Using patient rounding technology has improved patient satisfaction scores in 59 percent of organizations. Thirty-seven percent of organizations benefitted from the technology’s immediate feedback and recovery functions, and the same amount benefitted from the accountability and compliance benefits.

Better collaboration, staff incentive and motivation, and reinforcement of rounding programs were moderate benefit areas. Few organizations saw benefits related to electronic documentation, strategy refinement, greater staff efficiency, or improved care or patient safety.

These benefits have sparked increased participation in the patient rounding market, with KLAS researchers observing a greater number of vendors currently than in recent years, the report mentioned anecdotally.

Patient rounding tools are largely performing to end user expectations, the report noted. Nearly all of the vendors analyzed scored at least 90 or higher on a 100-point performance scale.

Raw data showed that TruthPoint scored the highest with a score of 93.4, followed by Huron Consulting (93.1), CipherHealth (91.7), and GetWellNetwork (91.2). However, KLAS did note that TruthPoint, Huron Consulting, GetWellNetwork, and Vocera had limited data sets due to their more limited adoption rates.

Advisory Board scored 89.8 out of 100, and Vocera scored 85.2. Customers reported that these two vendors have the biggest challenges, a trend likely stemming from high expectations and the vendors’ deep customer bases, KLAS said.

Although customers reported high satisfaction with their patient rounding tools, further analysis revealed critical improvements.

For example, most of these vendors developed patient rounding tools as a part of their overall patient engagement suites. However, customers said there is little synergy between tools.

Additionally, analytics functions on patient rounding tools leave something to be desired, the report showed. Analytics functions could provide insights into clinician performance improvement and other key hospital management metrics.

Furthermore, high user satisfaction ratings may stem from low user expectations, KLAS posited. Healthcare organizations currently using patient rounding technology have adopted the tools simply as digital versions of their previous paper rounding tools, leaving little room for the technology to grow.

Patient rounding has been and will continue to be an essential component of patient care. Rounding allows clinicians to be more attentive to patient needs. When providers address those needs, they can facilitate a positive patient experience and reduce the likelihood of preventable patient harms.

Healthcare organizations are recognizing those benefits and working to revamp their patient rounding strategies, this latest KLAS report showed. Going forward, health IT developers should create strategies to make these patient rounding tools more usable for not only patient management and relationship-building, but also for practice or hospital management.

Update: This article has been revised to make it clear that TruthPoint, Huron Consulting, GetWellNetwork, and Vocera had limited data sets in the KLAS vendor rankings, which may have skewed the overall rankings.

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