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Quality and Safety in the Literature: November 2021
  1. Christopher Grondin1,2,
  2. Nathan Houchens1,2,
  3. Ashwin Gupta1,2
  1. 1Medicine Service, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher Grondin, Department of Internal Medicine, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; cgrondin{at}

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Healthcare quality and safety span multiple topics across the spectrum of academic and clinical disciplines. Keeping abreast of the rapidly growing body of work can be challenging. In this series, we provide succinct summaries of selected relevant studies published in the last several months. Some articles will focus on a particular theme, whereas others will highlight unique publications from high-impact medical journals.

Key points

  • A randomised, controlled, multicentre trial in Switzerland found that there was no difference in subjective or objective measures of patient knowledge between bedside and outside the room rounding strategies. Ann Intern Med. 29 June 2021.

  • Use of clear face masks improves patients’ perceptions of surgeons’ communication skills, empathy and trustworthiness when compared with use of standard face masks. JAMA Surg. 1 April 2021.

  • Queensland’s minimum nurse-to-patient ratio policy resulted in significantly improved nurse staffing, hospital length of stay and 30-day mortality among intervention hospitals compared with unaffected hospitals. Lancet. 22 May 2021.

Effect of bedside compared with outside the room patient case presentation on patients’ knowledge about their medical care: a randomized, controlled, multicenter trial

Ann Intern Med. 29 June 2021

In 1903, William Osler, who is widely considered to be the USA’s foremost clinical educator, popularised bringing senior medical students from the classroom to the bedside to provide practical knowledge.1 2 This involved a presentation of the patient’s history, examination of the patient and discussion of plan of care, all in the presence of the patient.3 This process came to be known as rounds.3 Over time, these bedside rounds have become less common, with case presentations predominantly occurring without the patient present.4 These outside the room rounds are heterogeneous, with variable levels of patient engagement and physical examination.4 5 Traditional bedside rounds are now estimated to occur less than 25% of the time in the USA.5 6 Prior studies have suggested that while both supervising physicians and learners believe bedside rounds …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests All authors are employed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.