Perspective: a business school view of medical interprofessional rounds: transforming rounding groups into rounding teams

Acad Med. 2012 Dec;87(12):1768-71. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318271f8da.


An effective interprofessional medical team can efficiently coordinate health care providers to achieve the collective outcome of improving each patient's health. To determine how current teams function, four groups of business students independently observed interprofessional work rounds on four different internal medicine services in a typical academic hospital and also interviewed the participants. In all instances, caregivers had formed working groups rather than working teams. Participants consistently exhibited parallel interdependence (individuals working alone and assuming their work would be coordinated with other caregivers) rather than reciprocal interdependence (individuals working together to actively coordinate patient care), the hallmark of effective teams. With one exception, the organization was hierarchical, with the senior attending physician possessing the authority. The interns exclusively communicated with the attending physician in one-on-one conversations that excluded all other members of the team. Although nurses and pharmacists were often present, they never contributed their ideas and rarely spoke.The authors draw on these observations to form recommendations for enhancing interprofessional rounding teams. These are to include the bedside nurse, pharmacist, and case manager as team members, begin with a formal team launch that encourages active participation by all team members, use succinct communication protocols, conduct work rounds in a quiet, distraction-free environment, have teams remain together for longer durations, and receive teamwork training and periodic coaching. High-performing businesses have effectively used teams for decades to achieve their goals, and health care professionals should follow this example.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Commerce / education*
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Schools
  • Students*
  • Teaching Rounds / organization & administration*
  • United States