Conduct successful 'WalkRounds'

In the early 2000s, four Massachusetts healthcare facilities in the same network started doing WalkRounds. Over the course of two years, the WalkRounds led to safety suggestions tied to equipment, communications, medication, and staffing. Smaller facilities were able to take action rapidly, while larger groups tended to create a more formal process for responses. See a printable version of the checklist below to share with your team.

Here are the key components of WalkRounds to guide your development of this successful technique:

  • The patient safety coordinator (see Coordination) attends every time
  • One or more members of leadership (can be different each time)
  • Consider including patients and family members in some rounds
Place and time
  • Go to every area – clinical care, facilities, housekeeping, etc.
  • Set a schedule that rotates through areas over time
  • Pick times that are convenient for staff (e.g. don’t conflict with clinical activities and reach staff who work different shifts)
  • Explain that the goal is to hear ideas and take action to improve patient safety
  • Ask questions about recent adverse events and close calls for patient and colleague safety
  • Listen attentively
  • Focus on specific examples of patient harm or close calls/concerns
Follow up
  • Follow up afterwards with staff about actions taken
  • Keep notes about all rounds and actions taken in one place

For more about facilities that used WalkRounds successfully, click here.