Effect of Bedside Compared With Outside the Room Patient Case Presentation on Patients' Knowledge About Their Medical Care : A Randomized, Controlled, Multicenter Trial

Ann Intern Med. 2021 Sep;174(9):1282-1292. doi: 10.7326/M21-0909. Epub 2021 Jun 29.


Background: Although bedside case presentation contributes to patient-centered care through active patient participation in medical discussions, the complexity of medical information and jargon-induced confusion may cause misunderstandings and patient discomfort.

Objective: To compare bedside versus outside the room patient case presentation regarding patients' knowledge about their medical care.

Design: Randomized, controlled, parallel-group trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03210987).

Setting: 3 Swiss teaching hospitals.

Patients: Adult medical patients who were hospitalized.

Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to bedside or outside the room case presentation.

Measurements: The primary endpoint was patients' average knowledge of 3 dimensions of their medical care (each rated on a visual analogue scale from 0 to 100): understanding their disease, the therapeutic approach being used, and further plans for care.

Results: Compared with patients in the outside the room group (n = 443), those in the bedside presentation group (n = 476) reported similar knowledge about their medical care (mean, 79.5 points [SD, 21.6] vs. 79.4 points [SD, 19.8]; adjusted difference, 0.09 points [95% CI, -2.58 to 2.76 points]; P = 0.95). Also, an objective rating of patient knowledge by the study team was similar for the 2 groups, but the bedside presentation group had higher ratings of confusion about medical jargon and uncertainty caused by team discussions. Bedside ward rounds were more efficient (mean, 11.89 minutes per patient [SD, 4.92] vs. 14.14 minutes per patient [SD, 5.65]; adjusted difference, -2.31 minutes [CI, -2.98 to -1.63 minutes]; P < 0.001).

Limitation: Only Swiss hospitals and medical patients were included.

Conclusion: Compared with outside the room case presentation, bedside case presentation was shorter and resulted in similar patient knowledge, but sensitive topics were more often avoided and patient confusion was higher. Physicians presenting at the bedside need to be skilled in the use of medical language to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

Primary funding source: Swiss National Foundation (10531C_ 182422).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Switzerland
  • Teaching Rounds*
  • Terminology as Topic

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03210987