Christoph Becker, M.D., from the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues compared bedside versus outside-the-room patient case presentation in relation to patient knowledge about their medical care. Adult medical patients from three Swiss teaching hospitals were randomly assigned to case presentation either at the bedside (476 patients) or outside the room (443 patients).
The researchers found that patients in both groups reported similar knowledge about their medical care. An objective rating of patient knowledge conducted by the study team was similar for the groups, but higher ratings of confusion about medical jargon and uncertainty caused by team discussions were reported for the bedside presentation group. Bedside ward rounds were more efficient (11.89 versus 14.14 minutes/patient).
“These findings suggest that bedside teaching is efficient and that we should teach at the bedside, but doing so requires skilled communication to avoid patient confusion,” writes the author of an accompanying editorial.