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Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ward rounds

Birgitte Enslev Jensen (Department for Improvements, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Pauline Anne Found (Buckingham Business School, University of Buckingham, Buckingham, UK)
Sharon J. Williams (College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea, UK)
Paul Walley (Business School, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 19 September 2016




Ward rounds in hospitals are crucial for decision-making in the context of patient treatment processes. However, these tasks are not systematically managed and are often extended due to missing information or equipment or staff unavailability. This research aims to assess whether ward rounds can be structured more efficiently and effectively from the perspective of patients and staff.


This mixed-method approach examines the ward rounds conducted in three units within a haematology department of a major Danish hospital. Baseline measures were collected to capture the value of the ward round described by patients and staff. The information on patient and equipment flows associated with a typical ward round was mapped with recommendations for improvement.


Staff aspired to deliver a good-quality ward round, but what this meant was never articulated and there were no established standards. The duration of the ward round was unpredictable and could take 6 hours to complete. Improvements identified by the team allow the ward rounds to be completed by mid-day with much more certainty.

Research limitations/implications

This research provides an insight as to how ward rounds are conducted within a Danish haematology department.

Practical implications

The research has implications for those involved in ward rounds to reduce the time taken whilst maintaining quality and safety of patient care.

Social implications

This research has implications for patients and their families who wish to spend time with consultants.


Previous research has focused on the interactions between doctors and nurses. This research focuses on the operational process of the ward round and presents a structured approach to support multi-disciplinary teams with a focus on value from the patient’s perspective.



Enslev Jensen, B., Anne Found, P., Williams, S.J. and Walley, P. (2016), "Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ward rounds", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 279-297.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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