Background: The use of whiteboards in the inpatient setting has become increasingly prevalent as a potentially effective tool for prevention of communication failures and improved multidisciplinary care. Provider and nursing surveys indicate that this tool is useful when utilized, however the true impact on patient satisfaction outcomes remains unclear. Moreover, little is known about the patient perception of what might be most useful to them as a recall device in the hospital setting .
Methods: In July 2017, patients admitted to general medicine or hepatology services on a medical-surgical floor at a 650-bed academic hospital were surveyed at the bedside on their ability to remember their provider’s name and their plan of care. Patients were also asked two open-ended questions: “what would help them remember their provider’s name better” and “what would help you remember what the plan is for your hospital care better.” Concurrently, surveyors assessed for compliance by providers with documenting provider names and the plan of care on the room’s whiteboard communication tool, as well as availability of a whiteboard marker. Patients who were in contact isolation rooms, rooms with sitters, non-English speakers or had diagnoses of behavioral issues or mental status issues were excluded.
Results: 31 out of 50 eligible patients (62%) agreed to take the survey. 39% of patients did not remember their provider’s name, and 19% could not recall the plan for the day. When asked what would help patients to identify their providers, 29% reported the whiteboard was an effective tool. Business cards, more frequent visits and fewer providers were listed by 26%, 16% and 16% of patients respectively. Inability to see the whiteboard was identified as a barrier by 13% of patients. To assist in remembering the plan, 48% of patients requested a daily written handout. Using the whiteboard, use of an electronic application and repetition of the plan were listed as potentially helpful tools by 10%, 10% and 6% respectively. Compliance by providers with using the whiteboard tool to document provider names was 77% and writing the plan of care was 77%. A marker was available in 87% of patient rooms.
Conclusions: This study highlights the discordance between provider and patient perceptions of a widely used provider communication tool. While the whiteboard can be effective in assisting patients in remember provider names when utilized correctly, it may not be as useful for assisting patients in understanding the daily treatment plan. Patients may instead prefer a bedside tool that they can refer to regularly. Hospitals should consider these barriers when implementing initiatives to improve inpatient patient-provider communication.
To cite this abstract:Virapongse, A; Witowski, SE. PATIENT PERCEPTIONS OF PROVIDER BEDSIDE COMMUNICATION AND USE OF THE WHITEBOARD COMMUNICATION TOOL. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2018; April 8-11; Orlando, Fla. Abstract 38. https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/patient-perceptions-of-provider-bedside-communication-and-use-of-the-whiteboard-communication-tool/. Accessed April 7, 2020.