The Effect of Bedside Rounds on Learning Outcomes in Medical Education: A Systematic Review

John T. Ratelle, Caitlyn N. Gallagher, Adam P. Sawatsky, Deanne T. Kashiwagi, Will M. Schouten, Jed D. Gonzalo, Thomas J. Beckman, Colin P. West

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose To determine if bedside rounds, compared with other forms of hospital ward rounds, improve learning outcomes in medical education. Method For this systematic review, the authors searched Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, and Scopus from inception through February 20, 2020. Experimental studies were included if they (1) compared bedside rounds to any other form of rounds in a hospital-based setting, and (2) reported a quantitative comparison of a learning outcome (e.g., learner reaction, knowledge, skills, behavior, health care delivery) among physicians-in-training (medical students, residents, fellows). Extraction elements were summarized using descriptive statistics and a narrative synthesis of design, implementation, and outcomes. Results Twenty studies met inclusion criteria, including 7 randomized trials. All studies involved resident physicians, and 11 also involved medical students. The design and implementation of bedside rounds varied widely, with most studies (n = 13) involving cointerventions (e.g., staff education, real-time order entry). Of the 15 studies that reported learner satisfaction, 7 favored bedside rounds, 4 favored the control, and 4 were equivocal. Of the 4 studies reporting an outcome of learners' knowledge and skills, 2 favored bedside rounds and 2 were equivocal. Of the 8 studies that reported on learner behavior (e.g., bedside communication with patients), 5 favored bedside rounds, 1 favored the control, and 2 were equivocal. Finally, of the 14 studies that reported a health care delivery outcome (e.g., teamwork, rounding time), 8 favored bedside rounds and 6 were equivocal. Due to the high risk of bias and unexplained heterogeneity across studies, the overall strength of evidence was low. Conclusions In hospital-based settings, learners' satisfaction with bedside rounds is mixed. However, bedside rounds appear to have a positive effect on learner behavior and health care delivery. Given their potential value, additional research is needed to identify barriers to and facilitators of educationally successful bedside rounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-930
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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