Brief Reports

Sitting at patients' bedsides may improve patients' perceptions of physician communication skills

Abstract

Sitting at a patient's bedside in the inpatient setting is recommended as a best practice but has not been widely adopted. Previous studies suggest that a physician's seated posture may increase the patient's perception of time spent in the room but have not included hospitalists. We performed a cluster‐randomized trial of seated versus standing physician posture during inpatient rounds on a hospitalist service at an academic medical center. Patients whose physician sat were significantly more likely to rate their physician highly on measures of listening carefully and explaining things in a way that was easy to understand. The average time spent in the patient's room was approximately 12 minutes and was not affected by physician posture. Patients' perception of the time their physician spent in their room was not affected by physician posture. Sitting at the bedside during rounds does not increase the amount of time spent with the patient but may improve patient‐physician communication. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2015;11:865–868. © 2015 Society of Hospital Medicine

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