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An Analysis of the Daily Work-Rounding Process in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Gangadharan, Sandeep; Belpanno, Brian; Silver, Peter

doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000024
Original Article

Objective: To complete an objective analysis of the activities that occur during the course of daily rounds in a high acuity academic tertiary care pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).

Design: Prospective observational work sampling design.

Setting: Tertiary care academic Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Subjects: Multidisciplinary PICU teams.

Interventions: None.

Methods: Intensive care unit rounds were observed as part of an initiative to improve efficiency over a 2-month period. The number of observations required was determined by Neibel's work sampling method. Rounds were broken into various constituent events and then later classified as “value-added/essential,” “value-added/nonessential,” and “nonessential” based on whether the observed event was essential to the core mission of PICU rounds.

Results: The mean time spent per patient for all observed teams was 17.9 min (SD 1.3 min). Teams spent 64% of their time doing value-added/essential tasks (11.2 min, SD 2.2 min) and 13% of their time doing value-added/nonessential tasks (2.4 min, SD 0.9 min). Teams spent 23% of their time on non–value-added activities (4.1 min, SD 2.3 min). The top three non–value-added activities conducted during rounds were travel, waiting, and interruptions regarding care of other patients. Given the consistency of time spent on value-added activities among attendings, these non–value-added activities might explain the significant variability observed among attendings in total time spent rounding.

Conclusions: This was an observational study to characterize the activities that occur during the course of a routine PICU work rounds. Although there was significant consistency in the time spent per patient in value-added activities, there was significant disparity in time spent on nonessential activities, such as travel and waiting. A dedicated attempt to reduce time spent on nonessential activities can substantially reduce rounding times and improve the efficiency and value of rounds.

For more information on this article, contact Sandeep Gangadharan at

Work was performed at the Cohen Children's Medical Center of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. No financial resources were used in the conduct of this study.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2017 National Association for Healthcare Quality
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