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Multidisciplinary Rounds - Medicine

Multidisciplinary Rounds focus the entire hospital on patient results

Three days a week, healthcare professionals representing all areas of Berkshire Medical Center head to a fourth floor conference room to focus their combined expertise on the care of every patient in the medical units. Using a lap top computer projected onto a wall screen, Richard Glasener, RN clicks into the first patient's Electronic Medical Record to display comprehensive information about her condition including diagnosis, treatment, medications, test results and even discharge plans.

"We've got a lot of ground to cover today," said Gray Ellrodt, MD, BMC's Chairman of Medicine. "Let's go!"

For the next hour, the eyes of more than 30 highly-skilled professionals are trained on the screen while unit clinical leaders present each patient's case. Next, the residents follow up with more details and the assembled healthcare professionals discuss the patient's treatment plan for the day. In the process, they insure that the best care in their own areas is underway. Called multidisciplinary rounds, this program is driving an award-winning system of collaboration and communication at BMC, with measurable results.

Quality care for hospitalized patients has always depended on the experience and skill of individual practitioners, as well as effective communication and team work among those responsible for delivering care. While physicians, nurses and healthcare providers have always found ways to exchange information and draw upon each other's expertise for the benefit of patients, the process has generally been informal and dependent on individual practice styles. BMC's multidisciplinary rounds have now formalized that traditional communication system into a uniform and scheduled review of all cases, so that it is a more organized, certain and consistent benefit to all patients.

"This process is completely and utterly patient centered," Dr. Ellrodt said. "It insures that all of the front-line people involved in a patient's care are all on the same page and united toward the same goal. Multidiscplinary rounds are empowering, because every healthcare provider in the room has equal say. But at the end of the day, science rules. This system verifies that every patient is receiving the kind of evidence-based care that leads to the best outcomes."

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