Family-Centered Rounding Reduces Medical Mistakes


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Ivanhoe Newswire) – In a surprising healthcare revelation, some hospitals have found that life-saving solutions don’t always come from the latest technology or costly equipment. A simple shift in how doctors conduct their rounds is making a monumental difference in patient care and, more importantly, in saving lives. family-centered rounding

Outside the hospital room of Allison’s eight-year-old daughter, a team of medical experts are working on a treatment plan.

“Within 24 hours, she went from a little rash showing up on her ankle to, in the ER, dangerous blood pressure drop, swollen face and hands,” she recalls.

But Allison knows when it comes to her daughter, she is the expert, and at Primary Children’s Hospital, she is treated like one.

“They weren’t just coming to me and telling everything they were going to do, we were making a plan together, like, ‘This is what we can offer, this is what we can do, what do you think? How will this work best for her?’ And it just has been, I didn’t know that hospitals could work like this and I love it,” Allison expresses.

University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital doctor, Irene Kocolas, MD says, “We’re really able to engage our families and our parents. Who knows a child best than their family?”

The traditional way of patient care often left parents in the dark, their input overlooked or ignored by the medical team. But family-centered rounding is reshaping how medical teams communicate with families – planning with them instead of for them. Such a simple change is redefining patient care.

“When we’re all working together, the parent, the nurse and the physician team, not only do we feel like we have better communication, we decrease our errors,” Dr. Kocolas mentions.

Allison tells Ivanhoe, “I feel like I have a family that are all taking care of me. I feel like I can trust them and I can open my mouth about anything on my mind and they will listen and see what they can do about it.”

A recent study found a 38 percent decrease in preventable medical errors when family-centered rounding was implemented.

Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

To receive a free weekly e-mail on medical breakthroughs from Ivanhoe, sign up at:





REPORT:        MB #5300

BACKGROUND: In the United States, almost eight percent of the population is hospitalized for various conditions. The most common reasons for hospitalization are heart failure, osteoarthritis, and pneumonia. The average cost of a hospital stay is over $14,000. The average length of a hospital stay is 5.5 days.


DIAGNOSING: There are a slew of reasons why someone is hospitalized, but the common conditions are heart failure, osteoarthritis, and pneumonia. Some symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath with activity or when lying down, swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet, irregular heartbeat, wheezing, coughing up blood, and chest pain. Some symptoms of osteoarthritis are stiffness or tenderness in joints, loss of flexibility, bone spurs, and swelling. Some symptoms of pneumonia can be similar to heart failure, but can also include fever, rapid, shallowing breathing, loss of appetite, and nausea. If these symptoms, or any other symptoms persist, or get worse, hospitalization should be considered.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Family-centered rounding is a way of allowing families input into treating a patient while in the hospital. At Primary Children’s Hospital, Irene Kocolas, MD, makes it a point to include her patients’ families in hospital care. She says that when the whole team (parent, nurse, and physician) works together, it prevents medical errors as well. A previous study found that there was a 38 percent decrease in preventable medical errors because of family-centered rounding.

(Source: Irene Kocolas, MD, U of Utah Health/Primary Children’s Hospital)


Jennifer Toomer-Cook

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at