Patient Educ Couns. 2020 Jun;103(6):1252-1254. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.12.013. Epub 2019 Dec 17.
OBJECTIVES: Patient satisfaction ratings are a priority for academic medical centers. Sitting during patient encounters has been recommended as a "best practice."1 A prior study showed that hospitalists had higher-rated communication skills when sitting compared to standing at the bedside during rounds.2 It is unclear whether the same is true of resident-led team rounds.
METHODS: We performed a cluster-randomized crossover trial assigning 18 internal medicine residents to sit or stand at the bedside during rounds.
RESULTS: A total of 347 patients were surveyed to assess physician communication skills. Standing residents received higher ratings than sitting residents on 2 of 5 survey items and rounding duration did not differ. These results differ from prior work that suggests sitting is superior to standing2-6.
CONCLUSION: We suspect that one rounding member sitting, while all others stand, is not enough to impact patients' perceptions. These results suggest that initiatives to optimize patient satisfaction on resident-staffed units should be focused elsewhere.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Patients do not have better impressions of physician communication skills when one team member is sitting and the rest are standing.