Doctors with pediatric patient and mother

ODAT-supported technology facilitates patient-doctor communication

John Merritt

Family participation in hospital rounds, when a medical team visits a patient to review the patient’s status and care plan, are an important part of the care regimen. But the timing of rounds changes frequently, oftentimes making it difficult for families to participate.

Q-rounds is a new technology that aims to address those challenges through features like real-time notifications to patient families when rounds will take place and an option for virtual attendance by family members who can’t be at the hospital due to geographic barriers or other obligations, like work and caring for other family members.

University of Minnesota researchers Mike Pitt, MD, and John Sartori, PhD, utilized funding from CTSI’s Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT) to advance the development of Q-rounds. In addition to improving the hospital rounding experience for patients, families, and providers, Q-rounds can also ease language barriers by helping to schedule an interpreter for the visit.

“The Q-rounds technology addresses many important pain points for families and clinicians,” said Sandra Wells, ODAT director. “ODAT is happy to be part of the Q-rounds journey, supporting this impressive research team as they advanced the technology from initial concept to real-world use. Our support of the Q-rounds project demonstrates how University funding programs can support promising technologies from idea to impact and improve patient care.”

ODAT provided three rounds of funding for the Q-rounds project, in collaboration with the University’s Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (PDIC). The three awards funded segments of the project that built on previous stages, working with the PIs to pivot the focus of the funding along the way in response to key learnings.

For example, the first phase of the project launched in early 2020. Challenges to the healthcare system during the pandemic led to innovation opportunities for the technology that the team had not initially anticipated. ODAT most recently supported an initial implementation of Q-rounds with Fairview to assess feasibility in a healthcare setting, and to capture feedback from families and care providers using the technology.

“We are so grateful for ODAT and PDIC for their belief in what we are aiming to do with Q-rounds for families, nurses, and doctors,” said Pitt, the project’s principal investigator. “Without ODAT we would still be just an idea. They supported and encouraged our vision, giving us the start to build and evaluate this tool. We are blessed as a University to have passionate and knowledgeable people committed to work like this. The fact that we are now impacting the lives of patients and their families is directly related to ODAT's belief and trust in us to fiercely go after a problem.”

M Health Fairview recently published a story on the pilot project, which took place at Masonic Children’s Hospital, part of M Health Fairview Pediatrics. Read the story on the M Health Fairview website.